Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Tuesday 4/7/20
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2020 NFL Draft First-Round Odds for SEC vs. the Field
April 7, 2020
By Tony Mejia
SEC will set First-Round Pick Record
The 2019 season was a rough one for those who object to hailing the SEC as college football’s most dominant force.
The 2020 NFL Draft should continue reinforcing that point.
FanDuel sportsbook set its total of first-round picks expected to hail from the Southeastern Conference at 15.5. The ‘over’ is the heavy favorite, available at -152 (Bet $152 to win $100). The ‘under’ should be a popular bet since 15 or fewer first-rounders would net $100 bettors a $120 profit.
The league is likely to set a new record for most first-rounders in a single season. Consider that a lock.
The SEC has had 12 players taken in 2013 and ’17 and is expected to shatter that mark in 2020, extending its dominant run into another decade. Nine players were taken in the Round 1 in 2019, marking the eighth year in the past 10 that the SEC has led the nation in first-rounders.
Although a number of the top players at their position in this draft hail from a Big Ten that was arguably the country’s most competitive conference last season, the SEC has a chance at having more than half of the first round’s picks on April 23.
It now remains to be seen whether that happens in order to decide one of this NFL Draft’s most intriguing betting props.
While Alabama finally proved vulnerable in ’19, West Division rival LSU replaced it as the nation’s top team, finishing undefeated after squashing the champions of the Big 12 and ACC in January. Clemson, the only non-SEC school to win the National Championship game over the past five seasons, fell 42-25 in the battle of Tigers, giving the Southeastern Conference its 10th crown in 14 years.
Most of the country’s top recruits play in the SEC, which is one reason that the league has led all other conferences in first-round selections four years running.
More SEC players have been drafted over the course of the seven-round NFL Draft 13 years running. The streak is likely to continue in 2020. Last season, 64 players from the league’s member schools were chosen in the NFL Draft, shattering the conference’s own record from 2013.
In order to identify which way to go on these props that FanDuel is offering, you have to try and break down how the first round is likely to go. You can wager on it in two ways. If you’re not worried about the juice, you can back the SEC to reach 16 selections by simply riding the ‘over.’ You can also bet the SEC to have more first-round picks than any other conference in an SEC vs. the field prop in which the juice for both sides is -112, but they would have to get 17 since a tie voids both the ‘over’ and ‘under.’
If you’re playing contrarian on this prop, you’re likely going to want to bet the low side on the 15.5 since you’ll want to get in on +120. Taking the field does give you an extra out via push, which could come into play since this may be close.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will be the No. 1 pick. Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa will be the second quarterback taken and will go in the top-five. Tackle Jedrick Willis blocked for him while top targets Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III consistently made big plays, landing them in the lock category as far as Top-20 picks are concerned.
Safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Trevon Diggs are also potential first-rounders who could bump the Crimson Tide up to six picks.
Burrow had plenty of help in bringing LSU its first title since 2007 and will be joined by top receiver Jordan Jefferson, linebacker Patrick Queen and defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson. Safety Grant Delpit is a personal favorite who I’d draft in the back-half of the first round, but he and corner Kristian Fulton could both slip out. For the sake of this column, we’ll split the difference and say the Tigers will wind up with five selections.
Considering Delpit and Fulton are in direct competition with Alabama’s McKinney and Diggs for spots in the back of the first round, it’s unlikely we see the teams combine for 12 picks. To be safe, let’s go with 11.
Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-America selection, is certain to hear his name called on opening night. Fellow DT Marlon Davidson, corner Noah Igbinoghene and tackle Prince Tega Wanogho are potential first-rounders, but I don’t see more than two Tigers being selected among the first 32 picks.
South Carolina interior lineman Javon Kinlaw is a certain top-20 pick who might be considered a slight notch below Auburn’s Brown but is certainly on that level.
Florida corner CJ Henderson has caught some shade as a questionable tackler, but he’s a legitimate cover guy who should land in the first round, so we’ll count him among our first-round locks.
Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas is no longer considered the top offensive lineman in this crop, but he certainly remains one of the best 32 prospects. Teams can always use help up front, so we’re counting on him being selected on Thursday.
If you can read and count at the same time, you’ll see we’re up to 16 first-round picks and haven’t even gotten to dissecting whether Georgia RB D’Andre Swift will extend the streak of at least one back being selected in the first round to six. Teams passed on picking a running back in the first round in 2013 and ’14 but have otherwise taken one in every other NFL draft since 1964.
Swift is viewed as a more complete back than Wisconsin counterpart Jonathan Taylor due to his pass-catching skills and has a great chance to follow in line behind Leonard Fournette, Sony Michel and Josh Jacobs in making it four straight years that an SEC back is selected in the first round.
That gets us up to 17. I don’t recommend betting the ‘under.’ Considering only 10 players from Alabama and LSU, not 11, may ultimately hear their names called, I don’t love the thought of pushing on Draft night, kissing my sister with such little action to be had in the sports world.
It’s probably worth swallowing a little chalk here, potentially waiting to see if you could get a friendlier number as the draft approaches.
NFL Draft Predictions
Best Bet: OVER 15.5 SEC First-Round Picks (-152)
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