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 - If you wanna pick up a tennis racket, take a look at Novak Djokovic over Alexander Zverev at the U.S. Open tonight. This is not only Djoker's run at the Grand Slam but a big fat heaping plate of REVENGE. Just last month in Tokyo, Zverev beat Novak at the Olympics, and that HURT.
Djokovic opened up with a blazing 6-1 win in the first set, then lost the next two sets, 6-3, 6-1. In the four head-to-head matchups before that, Djoker threw a 4-0 at Zverev. At only -$240, the lowest price we've seen all tournament, gotta have some NOLE, Djokovic's nickname, and my bank account is gonna say OLE!!!
Rolling out to Idaho for the Boise State/Utep game tonight, and while we're not ready to lay 26 points, Boise in the 1st half -14 is the way to the bank. The Broncos LOVE the home opener and LOVE to start fast. Last season, they opened against Utah State, and BLEW the doors off in the first half, going into the tunnel with a 28-0 lead. It should be more of the same against Texas-El Paso.
If you're looking at the Miners 2-0 record, don't worry, it's a total MIRAGE. They beat New Mexico State 30-3, maybe one of the WORST teams in college football. Then just squeezed past Bethune-Cookman 38-28, whose 300 strong marching band is BETTER than the football team. And if you've never seen the BLUE TURF in Boise, enjoy!
South Carolina vs East Carolina
Tomorrow, we're gonna roll with South Carolina over East Carolina. East opened up as a 2-point favorite, but then the line quickly switched, and South is now -2. The Gamecocks play in the SEC while the Pirates live in the AAC. YUGE difference! If that isn't enough, then how about South's 46-0 wipeout last week against Eastern Illinois, while East Caro lost to Appalachian State, 33-19. Case closed, WE the SOUTH!!!
A little taste of Sunday's NFL action, and we'll start down in the ATL with the Falcons -3 points over the Eagles. YUCH! That's the only way to describe these two teams as they closed out the 2020 season. The Birds finished with, hold your nose, one win in their last eight games. Hold your nose even tighter because Atlanta came to the finish line on an OH & FIVE run.
So, is it the Jalen Hurts/Nick Sirianni pair that has your juices flowing, or, the Matt Ryan/Arthur Smith combo? Both head coaches are newbies, but kinda like the fact that Smith was the O-coordinator at Tennessee the last two seasons, with a top-10 offense in 2019, and a top-five group in 2020. Also like the fact that he has a veteran QB, Matty Ice, to start his X & O career, while Sirianni is gonna have to find a way to dramatically improve Jalen's pass percentage (52 percent).
Everything LIGHT this week, so we'll just tickle the ATL, but gonna go kinda heavy on the Over/Under total which is sitting at 48.5, and go HIGH. Both teams gave up over 400 points last season (an average of 26 ppg), and not seeing a gigantic improvement coming on the D side of the ball for either team. Gonna see at least 55 or more points and you can Book it!
Green Bay vs New Orleans
Also gonna look at the Packers/Saints game and go OVER 50. You think Aaron Rodgers wants to make a statement in the opener? OH YEA! And this is the perfect team to do it against. Last season, they played at New Orleans, and the final score was Green Bay 37-30. Rodgers was 21 of 32 for 283 yards with 3 TDs and zero INTs. Of course the Saints 30 points came mostly from the right arm of Drew Brees, but don't sleep of Jameis Winston. He CAN put points on the board, for BOTH teams. OVER 50.5 is the way to the bank.
And if you're looking for more picks this weekend on the NFL board, PLZ hit me on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15 second picks at www.instagram.com/vegasvigorish!
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.
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