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 — Dueling press conferences sets the stage for an EPIC matchup between Alabama and Texas A&M on October 8th. It's Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fisher, and we're talking trash, actually, they're talking trash. Which makes the matchup at Tuscaloosa even more DELICIOUS.
At the moment, we have 'Bama as a -16 point favorite at home, but we have seen a few 16.5s. For some context, A&M hosted the Crimson Tide last season at College Station, the Tide was a GINORMOUS -18.5 point favorite, but the Jimbos pulled off an incredible 41-38 upset. The Over/Under total was listed at 50.5, and obviously, went HIGH. Not ready to throw any cash down just yet, but that double digit spread sure does look tasty.
Any NBA Action?
Thinking that the Celtics are gonna roll into the NBA Finals when the final buzzer sounds, but laying 8.5 or 9 points is just a little out of my range. Pass on the hoops.
Not gonna pass on some MLB action tonight and will try the Twins with Bailey Ober over the Royals. Ober's record is just 1-1, but it's his last four outings that intrigue us. He has allowed only three earned runs over the last 20 innings, and that's a gorgeous 1.35 ERA. Minny has won six of the last seven, while Kaycee has dropped six straight (not including last night). If the Twinkies won last night, would still make a buy, but just slice a few chips off the wager.
In San Diego we'll play the Padres over the Pirates. Joe Musgrove spent two years with the Astros, three years with the Pirates and this is his second season in San Diego. Musgrove was under water for the first six seasons (40-47), so his FIVE & OH record in 2022 is quite a shock. Also, his 1.90 ERA is STUNNING! And one of the main reasons that the Padres are fighting the Dodgers for the top spot in the N.L. West. Gimme San Diego for the money!
Champions League Pick
Also not gonna pass on the UEFA Champions League Final in Paris, and gonna drop some love on Real Madrid over Liverpool. Looked at the road to the Final, and Madrid had a much tougher go than Liverpool. Real has taken down Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, while the Reds have knocked Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal out of the tournament. Advantage Madrid. Gimme a few chips on Real to win, gimme a few chips on the draw after 90 minutes and gimme a few chips on Over 2.5 goals.
Leaving France, heading to Monaco and gonna take a quick look at the Grand Prix. Totally understand that Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are the top dogs, but thinking that George Russell in the Mercedes might be a nice little appetizer at 25/1.
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...email@example.com.