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 – Baby Tua. That's what they're calling Maryland QB Tualia Tagovailoa. Tua's baby brother was awesome against Howard, completing 22 of 27 for 274 yards with 3 TDs and no INTs, but that was Howard, not exactly a football powerhouse.
However, Baby T showed his stuff a week earlier against a solid West Virginia team, hitting on 26 of 36 for 332 yards with 3 TDs and ZERO INTs. And the Turtles are not just all air. They have a kid, Tayon Fleet-Davis, that has gobbled 189 yards on the ground in just two games.
And a few words about the head coach. After two lousy seasons, 3-9 in 2019 and 2-3 last year, Terps X & O master Mike Locksley is finally getting his schemes into place, and that will be DANGEROUS for the rest of the Big Ten.
Why? If you're not familiar with the name, he was the co-offensive coordinator for a small program down in Tuscaloosa that won the National Championship in 2017. In 2018, Alabama ONLY made it to the championship game before losing to Clemson, but Locks won the Broyles Award, given to the nation's top college football coaching assistant.
On to Illinois and all you can say is, what a MESS! The Illini brought in Bret Bielema after a DISASTEROUS five years under Lovie Smith, compiling a 17-39 record. And it looks like more of the same. After an Sportsbook win against Nebraska, Illinois lost to UTSA at HOME, 37-30, then were blown away by a mediocre Virginia team, 42-14.
Seeing the line at -7.5 right now, and if you can, but the hook down to -7. Actually, the new Circa sportsbook here in Vegas has a -7, so that's where I'm heading.
They also have six pools, and a crazy SICK video wall that's BIGGER than RHODE ISLAND. And, and, AND, you can watch from the water! Not gonna push all the chips into the middle of the table, but will take a medium position on Baby Tua!!!
On the baseball board, gonna rock Milwaukee over the Cubs tonight. We know that the Brewers are gonna wind up in the playoffs, and barring an EPIC collapse, will win the N.L. Central.
Adrian Houser isn't one of the bigger names on the staff, but this kid from Texas is throwing PEAS! He has not allowed an earned run in his last two starts over 15 innings, while Chicago starter Zach Davies has not won a game in almost two months.
And since the Brew Crew is 13-3 against the Cubbies so far this season, gotta have the kids from Suds City for the money!
Tomorrow, we're gonna look at a little three team 10-point teaser. Start down in Texas and drop UTSA from -13 to -3 points over Middle Tennessee State. Take Auburn and bump the Tigers from +5.5 to +15.5 points against Penn State. Finish up out West, grab Fresno State and pump the Bulldogs up from +11 to +21 points against UCLA.
And in an effort to add a little more green to your wallet on Sunday, we're flying with the Cardinals over the Vikings.
Not only do we LOVE Kyler Murray, we'll get there in a minute, but this Arizona defense could be frightening as the season rolls on. We all know about J.J. Watt, the THREE TIME defensive player of the year, but it's Chandler Jones that's getting all the buzz. Jones had FIVE sacks and with Isaiah Simmons and Budda Baker running wild, Minny is gonna be in for a long day.
These guys held Derrick Henry to ONLY 58 yards last week. FIFTY EIGHT! And this is a wrecking ball that led the NFL with 2,027 yards last season. Did I say TWO THOUSAND TWENTY SEVEN YARDS? OH YEA! Sorry for screaming.
Now, back to Murray for a second. Kyler was 21 of 32 for 289 yards and four TDs last week. Life might be even easier for Murray this week for two reasons. We heard the Vikings might be without their leading tackler, LB Eric Kendricks (led the entire NFL with 15 total tackles last week), as well as LB Anthony Barr.
Since the Purple People are riding an UGLY 0-8 run against the spread, gimme 'Zona, and, you can BOOK IT!!!
And if you're looking for more picks this weekend on the college and NFL board, PLZ hit me on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15 second picks at www.instagram.com/vegasvigoris
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 Sportsbooks, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his Email...email@example.com.