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Las Vegas Expert Picks: College Basketball, UFC 235

Ben Askren of United States of America (R) prepares for his fight with Shinya Aoki of Japan in the Welterweight World Championship bout during ONE Championship: Immortal Pursuit at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on November 24, 2017 in Singapore.

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 — Stats coming in from the Nevada Gaming Control Board for January and, as usual, FREAKIN’ PENNIES lead the way with a win of $283 million. And as usual, sports is at the bottom of the ladder, winning only $14.6 mill. In between, there was baccarat at $95.9 million, blackjack at $90.2 million, craps at $34.7 million and roulette at $29.4 million. And if you wanna stretch it out for a year, SIT down and marinate on these numbers. Sportsbooks have pocketed $290 million, while penny slots have gobbled up $3.33 billion. Yeah, BILLION, with a B!!!

NCAAB picks

For your wagering pleasure, how about some numbers from the smartest kids in the room, the Ivy League. Looking at Cambridge where Harvard is hosting Penn. The Crimson went down to Philly on February 16 and beat the Quakers 75-68. Harvard has won eight of the last 10 straight up, covered six, and has a nice little 4-0 run working to the OVER.

February has not been kind to the wallets of Penn backers, since the Red & Blue have covered only one of their last five and two of the last eight. And if you’re a totals player, the Quakers have gone OVER in eight of the last 10. Harvard’s overall spread log sits at 11-11, 3-5 at home and just 4-9 as a favorite. Penn’s overall spread mark is 13-12, 7-7 on the road and 4-4 as an underdog. Gonna tickle the OVER.

On the college hoop board, we don’t venture into the Ohio Valley Conference too often, but got a game that looks VERY tasty. And we’re on Belmont over Southeast Missouri State. The Bruins from Nashville are sitting on top of the OVC with Murray State, and will not ease off the gas in their last regular-season game.

They just OBLITERATED Tennessee-Martin 112-67 on the ROAD and should be at least 20 points better than the Redhawks. Would also look at Indiana if you can get at least +7 or more against Michigan State. And close with Tennessee at home over Kentucky. Why? Cuz it’s a revenge game, and cuz the Volunteers are ONLY 18-0 at home. FREAKIN’ EIGHTEEN & OH!!!

UFC 235 pick

Jumping into the Octagon tomorrow here in Vegas, and looking at the welterweight matchup between Ben “Funky” Askren and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Looks like the UFC is trying to create another star, and “Funky” just might be the guy. He has never fought in the UFC, but is 18-0, and my dude from @OddsShark, Scott Hastings, tells me that Askren has six wins by KO, five by submission and seven by decision. If Dana White is gonna create a new superstar, I’m opening the wallet. Will throw down on “Funky” at -275 to win, and also take UNDER 2.5 rounds at +240.

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.

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