Derrick Jones Jr. NBA Dunk Contest Benjamin Eckstein Ecks & Bacon Las Vegas Expert Betting Picks

Las Vegas Expert Picks: Daytona 500, NCAAB, NBA Skills/Dunk Contest

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 — When it comes to SPEED, Ecks & Bacon is your man. Why? Because my first car was a Chevy Vega, with rust holes in the floorboard, that would go 0 to 60 in like a WEEK! So naturally, that qualifies me to make some picks in “The Great American Race,” the “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing,” or as we call it around my house, the Daytona 500.

Daytona 500 Picks

As you might expect, Eck is not gonna throw down without doing hours of research, and some sportsbook shopping. First up is Denny Hamlin. Denny has two Daytonas in his garage at home and, at +1000, we’re gonna take a bite. Then it’s Jimmy Johnson, also a two-time Sportsbook. JJ is listed at +2500 in most spots, but we found him at +4000 here in Vegas. Cannot divulge the name of the sportsbook, but if you hit my email,, I’ll come clean.

And my long shot is gonna be Austin Dillon. He has one Daytona in his glove compartment and is listed at mostly +3000. Did some more shopping and found him in one spot at an INCREDIBLE +20000. Yeah, that’s TWO HUNDRED TO ONE!!! Also found out that Dillon was born in Welcome, North Carolina. After he wins, my millions of fans will be petitioning to change the name of his town to YOU’RE WELCOME!!!


On to some college hoops tonight. Dartmouth has lost nine in a row and is still a 6-point favorite over Columbia. What??? What are we missing? So, how can we not put Columbia in a two-team 6-point teaser, and bump the Lions up from +6 to +12 points against Dartmouth.

Then it’s back to Philly, where we’ll drop Penn from -7 to -1 point against Brown. The Quakers have handled the Bears rather easily, winning the last five by an average of 10 points. If you look at the Brownies’ recent work, you’ll see they have won four in a row. But look closer and all four Ws came at home. Your next question is, obviously, what are the Bears like on the road? How about an 0-6 NEGATIVE perfecto! But this is the Ivy League, so we’re gonna keep the tease on the light side.

Tomorrow, gonna roll out a few gems, starting with Notre Dame if we can get double digits against Duke. Mike Brey, the Irish coach, comes from Coach K’s tree and should be able to handle the Blue Devils, or at least stay close. ND has covered SIX IN A ROW and eight of the last nine, and should be MONEY!

Next up is Miami-Florida over Wake Forest if the number is right around Hurricanes -3 points. Then we’ll move on to Saint Louis over LaSalle if the number is -10 or less for the Billikens at home. Also thinking about Montana over Idaho State, but if the line gets too close to -20 for the Grizzlies, we’ll pass.

NBA Skills, Dunk Contest Picks

And I’ll leave you with a little NBA action in the Skills Challenge tomorrow night. Gimme my guy Domantas Sabonis at +1000 to beat all the little fellas. If you can find a price on the Dunk Contest, my move is to Derrick Jones Jr. at around +300.

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 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