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Las Vegas Expert Picks: College Basketball Conference Tournaments

The Florida State Seminoles mascot performs during the ACC basketball tournament between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Florida State Seminoles on March 14, 2019, at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC.

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

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Pick

LAS VEGAS — Waking up early in Vegas for the tournament action, and gonna start you in my original hometown for the A-10 tourney in Brooklyn, and looking at the battle of the Rams, Virginia Commonwealth vs Rhode Island. VCU is coming in heavy as the No. 1 seed with a 25-6 record and a superb 16-2 log in conference play. Of course, we’re checking the spread stats and the Rams, from Richmond, have been rocking, covering 10 of the last 12. They’ve also put five of the last six on the road into the bank.

The teams split the two regular-season games. The Rams, from Kingston, took the first game 71-65 as a 1.5-point favorite, and the other Rams returned the favor in Richmond, posting a stunning 76-42 W as a 7.5-point fav. Commonwealth’s overall spread log is very healthy at 20-10-1, 10-4 on the road and 15-7-1 as a favorite. The Rhodies’ overall spread mark is 14-17, 7-10 on the road and 4-6 as an underdog. Gimme the Rams from the South.

ACC Conference Tournament Pick

Move over to the ACC, and gonna roll with Florida State +9.5 points over Virginia in the ACC tourney. Totally respect UVA and they’ll get a No. 1 seed, but beating FSU by 9.5, UH-UH. Like the guy on the Farmers Insurance commercial, Leonard Hamilton knows a thing or two about coaching. His Seminoles made it to the Elite Eight at last year's Big Dance, and this team is even better.

Yes, they did lose to Virginia back in January 65-52, but that was then and this is now. And the now tells me that they have improved dramatically, winning 12 of the last 13. Also would take a look at the UNDER, which will open at around 125, and go low. Why? The Cavaliers beat FSU 65-52 this season, with an OVER/UNDER of 130. And last season, it was Virginia winning 59-55, and the total was 131.5. Both games went WAY low, and we are goin’ LOW as well. Not sure if it’s parlay time, but Florida State plus and the UNDER both look very tasty.

And let’s close it out with a gorgeous two-team 6-point teaser. Gonna take a look at the X-Men, Xavier, and bump the Musketeers up from +7 to +13 points against Villanova, then grab Florida, and take the Gators from +4.5 to +10.5 points against LSU.

See you next week at the BIG DANCE, BABY!!!

And plz, PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops on the college hoop board.

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.