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Las Vegas Expert Picks: Kentucky Derby, MLB, NBA & NHL Playoffs

Game Winner is washed in the barn area after morning workouts in preparation for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky.

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

NBA playoffs pick

Las Vegas - What did Portland's 97-90 win at Denver on Wednesday night tell us? That it's NOT always DAME TIME! No doubt that Damian Lillard IS the engine that drives the Blazers, but in game two, he was sputtering. He wound up with only 14 points on 5 of 17 from the field, 1 of 7 on triples. Dame time was LAME time. Fortunately, CJ McCollum (20 points), Enes Kanter (15 points) and Rodney Hood (15 points) all filled the void. But back in Portland, there's no doubt that Dame will have GAME (if that's too much rhyming, I understand), and drop at least 20+ on the Nuggets, maybe even 30.

Looked at the Blazers work at the Rose Garden, oops, Moda Center, and there's only one word, PERFECTO. They rumble in on a 11-0 run, including a 115-108 W against the Nuggs back in April. And since Denver has won only two of the last nine on the road, we'll open the wallet wide for Portland. And if you're gonna be in town, stop in for some seafood at Jake's Famous, and tell 'em that Eck sent you. Might be good for a free dessert, might not!

NHL playoffs pick

On the NHL ice, we have a light play to the Blues at home against the Stars. St. Loo does NOT wanna go down 3-2 heading back to Dallas for game six. The Blues secured home ice for a reason...to WIN in the playoffs. My green is on the Blue.

Kentucky Derby pick

Pick up a mint julep and let's head to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. Quick word about me and horses. Love to look at them but have little to no handicapping expertise. So I turn to my man, my horse guy, Martin, Marty, Double M, who is as sharp as you'll find. Marty is rolling with Game Winner. But be careful because after Omaha Beach was scratched, GW moves to post position #15, but he is still numbered as the #16 horse.

Make sure when you step to the counter, or hit your phone app, you ask for the #16 horse to win. Martino also tells me that helps Game Winner to move in one spot. Why? It adds a little space between him and the horse to his left. Why?

The auxiliary gate which starts from post 15 to 20, has a slight separation, so he won't have to deal with another horse right next to him. This is how we plunk down our cash. Throwing $100 to win, right on the nose BABY, on Game Winner. Taking a $20 exacta with #16 which will cost $380 bones. Of course you can scale the wager to your bankroll. RIDERS UP!!!

MLB pick

One baseball play tonight and it's the Tigers over the Royals. Looked at Kaycee's starter, Jorge Lopez, and his numbers are UGLIFIED. Yes, I made up that word, and will be submitting it to the Oxford Dictionary. First let me tell you the Lopez has NOT won a game yet this season. What about his last three starts? Okay. He has been bombed for 22 hits and 12 earned runs in just 16 innings. Tigers ROAR!

PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops in the NBA, NHL, or, MLB.

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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