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Las Vegas Expert Picks: College Basketball, EPL

Northern Iowa Drake AJ Green Anthony Murphy Las Vegas Expert Betting Picks

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

College Basketball Picks

LAS VEGAS — Northern Iowa vs Drake is the first game up today on the Missouri Valley Conference slate, and we’re on the Panthers from Cedar Falls.

Northern doesn’t get much love, much ink, or much chatter from the talking heads, but these kids can play. Don’t believe me, just ask Ken Pomeroy, or KenPom as he is known around the country. His ratings are a great measuring stick, and he has Northern Iowa at No. 38 in the country, with a 15.30 rating.

Obviously, you wanna know where Drake is. Well, the Bulldogs from Des Moines are down, WAY DOWN at No. 181, with a rating of 0.72. Don’t always go by the ratings, but with Northern 15 points better, and the spread only 8, ya gotta pop the Panthers!!!

Switch over to some late-night action here in Vegas as Utah State takes on Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference tourney. Once again, we look at the KenPom ratings, and KP has the Aggies from Logan slotted in at No. 39, with a rating of 14.81. If you’re looking to find the Cowboys from Laramie, keep going down the list, keep going, keep going, all the way down to No. 246, yeah, TWO HUNDRED FORTY-SIX!

They have a rating of MINUS 7.19, which makes State, on paper, like 21 points better. They’re favored by 15 and should win by at least 20. Why not. In the two meetings this season, Utah State won at Wyoming 68-45 and at home 78-58. Oh yeah. This will be the Cowboys’ third game in three nights, and you can expect them to have their tongues hanging out in the middle of the second half.

We’ll close the shop on our NCAAB picks with a sweet two-team, 6-point teaser. Gonna take St. John’s at home, and add 6 to the spread, making the Red Storm a tasty dog. And staying in the Big East, we’ll grab Villanova, and drop the Wildcats down to maybe a pick’em against Georgetown. Love Patrick Ewing, but his kids don’t have enough firepower to hang with ’Nova.

EPL Pick

Jumping across the pond and gonna look at Liverpool over Bournemouth. If you don’t mind laying $425 to win back $100, the Reds are your cup of tea. They are top of the Premier League table with 79 points while the Cherries are sitting in the relegation zone with 27 points. Why am I willing to lay over 4/1 on Liverpool? The Reds’ last five meetings against the Cherries have ended with an aggregate score of 17-0. Yeah, SEVENTEEN to a BAGEL!

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.