Vegas veteran Ben Eckstein, author of America's Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly NFL picks in his 'Ecks & Bacon' column.
Here's his selection for Week 1:
Las Vegas - STOP! Stop right now. Look at me. Look into my eyes. I know you're TINGLING. I'm tingling too. The NFL kicks into high gear on Sunday. Week 1. WEEK FREAKIN' ONE. The MOST important piece of advice is, DO NOT blow the entire bankroll on the Sportsbook week. Be smart. Be patient. Be a Sportsbook. Have seen too many guys, and a few gals, LOAD up in the first week, and get smoked. Then of course they start to chase. Throw good money after bad. You lose the early games, so naturally, you think you're gonna kill the late games. Or, most likely, you're gonna get KILLED. Don't mean to be Debbie Downer, but this is a GRIND. We wanna get to the Super Bowl with a big fat PLUS in the bank account. Not guaranteeing my picks are gonna get you there, but we're gonna have some fun along the way.
Week 1 is always tricky because you're handicapping mostly on the preseason, which is a whole bunch of FALSE positives. However, there is a little something somethin' that caught our attention, and it's the Ravens -3 points over the Bills.
Rex Ryan. Son of Buddy, brother of Rob. Defense was part of their breakfast. It was in the cereal. So, of course, Buffalo's D would be amazing with Double R coming on board. NOPE! The Bills had the No. 1 rated pass rush in 2014, and Rex turned that into a No. 31 disaster. And they were No. 30 against the run. OW! So, really not impressed with the Buffs. And you can throw Baltimore's ugly 5-11 record out the window, because QB Joe Flacco went down and the team basically fell apart. Flacco is back, looks healthy, and has some new toys in his tool box. WR Mike Wallace comes over from the Vikings and should be a perfect fit for Flacco's vertical game. Wallace had only 39 grabs last season with Minnesota, but the Vikes were one of the heaviest run teams in the league. Look for him to get back to 60-70 catches that he averaged for six years. Only one thing left to say, and you know what it is. This IS my BEST BET BABY!!!
Also a few words on touts and sports services. If you're gonna throw down some of your cash, and let someone pick your games, you better make DAMN sure that they are reliable. As soon as you hear someone who is hitting like 80%, RUN! It WILL NOT happen, NEVER does, at least for an entire NFL season. If you hear some blabbermouth on the radio that says they have some "inside info," CHANGE the DAMN Sportsbook. There are a small handful of competent guys out there that do extensive homework, provide rock-solid information, and don't fall into the SCAMDICAPPER group. I don't know every single name out there, because dozens of new ones crawl out of the termite mound each year, but if you have any questions, or someone you would like to vet, PLZ hit my email.
Hope to see you in VEGAS BABY, but if you can't join me, have an amazing, fun and profitable season. If you do come to Vegas, I'll be at the Sportsbook sportsbook every Saturday putting in the NFL picks for the SuperContest as a PROUD member of Team OddsShark. I'll even be wearing the OddsShark gear. There's a nice deli in the back of the sportsbook, and I would not turn down a bagel and a cup of coffee.
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 Sportsbooks, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you want a piece of Eck, hit his email...firstname.lastname@example.org.