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The Rays highlight this week's Las Vegas expert picks.

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.

LAS VEGAS — Take me out to the ballgame, then take ALL the money out of my wallet. Forget about peanuts and Cracker Jacks, check out this hamburger.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there’s a new snack in town at Truist Park, the World Champions Burger. Tell me more, Eck. OK. We’re talking a half-pound Wagyu beef burger topped with cage-free pan-fried eggs, gold-leaf-wrapped Hudson Valley foie gras, grilled cold water lobster tail, heirloom tomato, Bibb lettuce, Tillamook cheddar cheese and truffle aioli on a toasted, Irish-buttered brioche bun served with Parmesan waffle fries.

So, have never had gold-leaf-wrapped foie gras. Actually, NEVER had any foie gras, gold or otherwise. Don’t know what Bibb lettuce is, and truffle aioli sounds like a heart condition.

This burger sells for $151. Yeah, ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-ONE BUCKS! But hold on, there’s also a $25,000 option that includes a limited-edition World Series championship ring. You bring the wife and two kids, buy everyone the World Champions Burger, with all the fixins and the rings, and you’re stuck for $106,000 and change. Then there’s PARKING!!!

MLB Pick

Fixin’ to make a baseball pick, without the burgers, and looking at Tampa Bay with Shane McClanahan over the Orioles. The Rays keep finding these fabulous pitching prospects, and McClanahan fits the mold. Shane was born in Baltimore but he didn’t show the O’s any love, posting a FOUR & OH mark against the Birds last season. Gimme TB for the money.

And if for some strange reason the Rays lose today, then we would bounce right back tomorrow with an even bigger wager. The projected starter for Tampa is Drew Rasmussen and he had some SERIOUS numbers last season. He started just six games, pitched a total of 29 innings and allowed ONLY five earned runs. That’s a 1.55 ERA and that’s MONEY in the bank, baabbbeee!

Premier League Pick

Another quick trip across the pond to London tomorrow morning and looking at Arsenal over Brighton & Hove. The Gunners are fighting archrival Tottenham for a spot in the UEFA Champions League, and both teams are tied on 54 points.

However, Arsenal has a game in hand and will be super-pumped for this match at home. The Gunners have been pretty sweet at home, winning 10 of 14 since September. And their only home losses came against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, three of the top four teams in the Premier League. Then we looked at Brighton & Hove’s last seven games, and the word that comes to mind is UGLIFIED!

The Seagulls were outscored 13-1, yeah, THIRTEEN TO ONE, and scored just ONE goal in all those games. You know I love ’em, you know I’ve been Arsenal for over 40 years, so if you’re not on the same page, totally understand. GUNNERS are money in the BANK!


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...ben@americasline.com.