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 — Gonna swing back over to Germany and check in on a Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and TSG Hoffenheim. The Red Bulls from Leipzig are sitting in the third slot with 59 points and are on track for a spot in the UEFA Champions League. However, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with 56 points each, are still making life uncomfortable.
Hoffenheim is the home side in this contest, but with NO fans in the stadium, it’s not really an edge. And are you ready for their nickname? The main one is Die Kraichgauer, with the secondary, Achtzehn99. Suri tells me that the word “Kraich” apparently arose from the Celtic word “Creuch,” meaning mud or loam. The territory of a Gau (country subdivision) signifies an open area, free from woods, such as farmland or meadows.
We’re gonna run with the Achtzehn99 because it just means the year they were founded, 1899, and there’s NO mud or loam involved. The Hoffs – like that way better than Hoffenheim, and was thinking David Hasselhoff might wanna buy into the team – are sitting in seventh place in the Bundesliga, with 43 points on 12 wins, seven draws and 11 losses. They’ve scored 42 goals and allowed 50 for a -8 goal differential.
The visitors from Leipzig have won 16, with 11 draws and only three losses. They’ve scored 75 goals and allowed 32 for a gorgeous +43 goal differential. The Red Bulls superstar, Timo Werner, is trailing Robert Lewandowski by just five goals in the race for the Torjägerkanone. OK, I know, what the H is the Torjägerkanone??? It’s the cannon-shaped prize awarded to the Bundesliga’s top scorer at the end of a season.
Before you step up to the betting window, lemme tell you that Hoffenheim FIRED its manager, Alfred Schreuder, on Tuesday, and we cannot really speak to the mental state of the team. So, when in doubt, turn to the draw. Gonna drop a full Benjamin on the draw to win back 420 bones.
UFC Fight Night 172 Picks
Back to the Octagon tomorrow night and start with the first part of the co-main event featuring Marvin (The Italian Dream) Vettori vs Karl (Baby K) Roberson. Vettori is a solid favorite at -210 with Roberson at +175.
The tale of the tape tells us that The Dream is 26 years old from Mezzocorona, Italy. He tips the scale at a buck 85, is six feet tall and has a 74-inch reach. His MMA record is 14-4-1, with only two wins coming by KO, four by decision and eight by submission.
Baby K is 26 years old from Neptune, New Jersey. He also tips the scale at a buck 85, is six-foot-one and also has a 74-inch reach. His MMA record is 9-2, with only two wins coming by KO, three by decision and four by submission.
So, which way do we turn? Did some research and found out that Baby K had some MONSTER problems with cutting weight last month. In his own words, “During the weight cut, I started to have seizures – like, small seizures – so they had to stop my weight cut. I still went down there, weighed in, and tried to make it to the fight. When I tried to rehydrate, my body never came back. My legs gave out, and I passed out. I hit my head, and they said I was going through rhabdomyolysis.” Not sure what rhabdomyolysis is, but my dad told me to NEVER bet on a guy that had it.
Gimme The Italian Dream for the MONEY!!!
In the other half of the co-main event, say hello to the ladies, with Jessica (Evil) Eye vs Cynthia (No Nickname) Calvillo.
The Evil Eye, one of the GREAT nicknames in sports, is 33 years old from Rootstown, Ohio. She hits the scale at a buck 25, is five-foot-six and has a 66-inch reach. Her MMA record is 15-7, with just three wins coming by KO, 11 by decision and one by submission. But probably the most important nugget we’ve found, there’s a remixed version of the song “Till I Die,” by Machine Gun Kelly, which references Eye.
No Nickname is 32 years old from San Jose, California. She will tip the scale somewhere north of a buck 20, is five-foot-four and has a 64-inch reach. Her MMA record is 8-1, with two wins coming by KO, three by decision and three by submission.
Since Calvillo is moving up in weight and Eye has been in with some of the best of the best, gotta throw some chips, just a small handful, toward the EVIL EYE!
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.