Best Bets, Worst Risk For Opening Odds On Top Pick In 2020

Photo: TDN: Robert Judin

Way-too-early mock drafts. Way-too-early player rankings. Way-too-early team predictions.

Ah, forget all that. When it comes to the NFL Draft, it's never "way too early" for anything -- not around these parts.

I am so excited for this upcoming season. I could say that every year, but it's true! Both college football and the NFL bring unforgettable moments that change the game forever every year. All of that will start to unfold in a matter of weeks.

Though it is a long way off, you better believe the folks over in Las Vegas aren't just looking at the football calendar ending at the Super Bowl. There are some books that already have their odds out for who might be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

These were the opening summer odds for which player might hear their name called first.

Odds posted at Westgate sportsbook

  • Tua Tagovailoa -200
  • Justin Herbert 4-1
  • Jake Fromm 5-1
  • Chase Young 20-1
  • Jerry Jeudy 30-1
  • Derrick Brown 40-1
  • Raekwon Davis 40-1
  • Andrew Thomas 40-1
  • Walker Little 40-1
  • A.J. Epenesa 100-1
  • Tee Higgins 200-1
  • Grant Delpit 200-1
  • J.K. Dobbins 200-1
  • Jonathan Taylor 200-1
  • Jacob Eason 200-1
  • Dylan Moses 300-1
  • C.J. Henderson 300-1
  • Travis Etienne 300-1
  • Laviska Shenault 300-1
  • Ceedee Lamb 300-1
  • Nick Coe 300-1

Three quarterbacks take the top odds with Alabama signal caller Tua Tagovailoa a pretty big favorite. In the last 10 drafts, seven of the No. 1 overall picks have been quarterbacks, so that makes sense. Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young is the first defensive player on the list with 20-1 odds. Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the first wide receiver to make an appearance with pretty high odds, considering his position, at 30-1. The next non-quarterback offensive player is Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor all at 200-1.

There are a lot of exciting and talented names on that list, but since we are already diving into our preseason scouting reports, I figure I'd offer up my humble advice to anyone who may be looking to throw some cash down and place a bet for any of these guys at the top or bottom.

Best Bet

Iowa EDGE A.J. Epenesa: 100-1

Iowa's 6-foot-5, 275 pound monster defensive end A.J. Epenesa comes in with 100-1 odds to be the No. 1 overall pick, and if you ask me, that's the best bet for your buck you could make.

The NFL has shown that most of the time it's either quarterbacks, pass rushers or offensive tackles that go No. 1 overall. The last non-QB/DE/OT to go No. 1 was wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson way back in 1996. While not even starting full time in 2018, Epenesa racked up 16.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He has the size, the skill and the stats. His odds to go No. 1 are, in reality, much better than 100-1.

Worst Risk

Georgia QB Jake Fromm: 5-1

I just don't see a way for Fromm to go No. 1. I understand that he plays quarterback, so he's going to be in the conversation. But I don't think he has the big arm or the overall outlook that is on the same level as Herbert and Tagovailoa.

And let's say that Herbert and Tagovailoa have the worst years of their careers next season and Fromm has the best. Let's say his deep ball accuracy drastically improves and Georgia wins the National Championship. He's still barely 6-foot-2, and isn't as mobile as some of the other short quarterbacks who have been drafted high (mainly Bake Mayfield, who did go No. 1 overall).

It would take a lot of bad things happening around him for Fromm to go No. 1, things that have odds a lot higher than just 5-1. The risk for how much would have to go in your favor to cash in just doesn't add up.

Safest Pick

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa: -200

I get that this is a "duh" moment, but even with the heavy odds in his favor, Tua is still the safest pick, if you're just looking to risk some money to make some money.

The problem with anyone else looking to go No. 1 is that Alabama is barely going to even get challenged before the SEC Championship game. With those wide receiver, Tagovailoa is going to put up insane numbers every single week. That alone will likely be enough to not dethrone him, at least when it comes to the choice of a quarterback at the top.

Might Be Surprised, But Shouldn't Be

LSU S Grant Delpit: 200-1

Grant Delpit might be one of the top three players in this entire draft class, but that doesn't mean you should bet on him to go No. 1 overall. We haven't seen a safety top the draft since Gary Glick in 1956. We haven't even seen a safety go Top 5 since Eric Berry in 2010, and before that it was Sean Taylor back in 2004.

200-1 odds might look great for a player who might just be the best talent in the entire draft class but save your money. History tells us that even the greatest safeties don't get prioritized that high.

You'd be betting against a lot more than just the 200 odds with Delpit. You'd be betting against history.