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PAC 12 TITLE TILT!!!
C’mon with me to Vegas for the Pac 12 Championship game tonight between USC and Utah. The Trojans are not playing for much, he said sarcastically. Win and they’re in. IN the College Football Playoff for a shot at the national crown. First a look at the box score from the October meeting in Salt Lake City. The Utes posted a dramatic 43-42 win with a last second two point conversion. SC coach Lincoln Riley was adamant during his media availability that he does not view Friday as a revenge game. “That’s not what this is,” Riley said. Then he started to giggle. OF COURSE this is a REVENGE GAME! Both teams basically scored at will in that game, both had a ton of passing yards and a ton on the ground. Both QBs played exceptional. Caleb Williams seems to love the bright lights and he totally sewed up the Heisman Trophy with a stunning performance against Notre Dame last week. Now he has a chance at the ring. And before you get too excited about Utah destroying Colorado last week, 63-21, ya gotta know that the Buffaloes were one of the absolute WORST teams in the country with a 1-11 record. How bad? The Buffs scored only 185 points and allowed 534. So, just throw that result in the trash. Also remember that the 43-42 W was AT Utah, and this is a neutral site game in Vegas. The Utes were 6-0 in Salt Lake this season but just 3-3 on the road. Keep an eye on Utah’s TE Dalton Kincaid. He TORCHED USC in the first game, grabbing 16 balls for 234 yards. He got hurt against Colorado last week, and might not be at full strength. My final thought relates to that crucial stat, turnover margin. Looked at the charts and the Trojans have the #1 margin in the country at +23. The next team is Duke at +14. If you’re wondering, the Utes are at +8. Gonna FIGHT ON with Southern Cal!
Gotta get you up early tomorrow for some World Cup Sweet 16 action between the USA and Netherlands. There are approximately 332,000,000 million people in the United States, and I might be the ONLY one that is picking the Dutch side. I’ll be watching the game in a quiet corner of my garage with no sound. Under the hood of my pickup truck. The Oranje have been on quite a roll with an 18 game unbeaten streak. Some folks have thrown shade at the Dutch for taking only eight shots on goal so far, but they’ve kept kept two clean sheets (shutouts) and outscored the opposition 5-1. The Netherlands have a LOCK DOWN defense, with one of the best players in the world, Virgil van Dijk, defending the goal. That has allowed goalie Andries Noppert to record four BAGELS in the last five matches. Expecting Cody Gakpo, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay to give the Stars & Stripes AGITA all game. Not sure how fit Christian Pulisic will be for the game, or, how long he will play. Not worried, because from this keyboard, the Dutch have TOO much talent. Gimme the ORANJE for the money. Also gonna take a taste of a few prop wagers. Backing the Netherlands to win 1-0 (5/1), 2-0 (8/1) and 3-0 (18/1).
MAC TITLE TILT!!!
Then we move back to the college football board and grab Ohio University +3 over Toledo. Think that the oddsmakers have the WRONG favorite in this spot. Why? I’ll tell ya. Ohio U has been on quite a tear. After starting the season at 2-3, the Bobcats have ripped off seven straight wins, and head to Ford Field in Detroit (a neutral site), on a gigantic 8-0 spread run. Yea, EIGHT & OH! On the other side of the field, Toledo has lost three of the last five, and come to the title game on an 0-5 spread run. Yea, OH & FIVE! These Rockets do not have enough fuel in the tank to stop the Bobcats.
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his Email... firstname.lastname@example.org.