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Vegas Expert Picks MLB Kentucky Derby

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 — Gonna tickle the Red Sox with Nathan Eovaldi over the White Sox and Vince Velasquez. Eovaldi has been VERY stingy, allowing only three earned runs over the last 18 innings for a skinny 1.50 ERA. Not at all impressed with Chicago’s Velasquez this season, or since he started his career back in 2015. Double V has a lifetime 32-46 record with a 4.94 ERA. And in his four starts this season, he has been rocked for 19 hits and nine earned runs in just 17 innings. It’s all about Nathan this evening.

Another MLB Pick

Very impressed with Seattle’s Logan Gilbert so far this season. After a mediocre 6-5 record last year with a 4.68 ERA, would not have anticipated Gilbert’s amazing start to 2022. Actually PERFECT! He has started five times and has a 4-0 record and an INVISIBLE 0.64 ERA. The Mariners have struggled on the road with an UGLY 5-11 record, but at home, it’s a very profitable 7-3. Gimme some of those Ms!

Premier League Pick

Quick trip to London where we’ll buy Chelsea over Wolverhampton. The Blues are still fighting to hold on to a spot in the top four and an invite to the next UEFA Champions League party. That’s why we’re expecting them to have no trouble with the Wanderers. The Wolves have lost three in a row and had to eat a BAGEL in each game – a 1-0 loss to Newcastle, a 1-0 loss to Burnley and a 3-0 defeat at home against Brighton. Double T, Thomas Tuchel, will have his kids ready to rumble, and we’ve got Chelsea for the money!

Kentucky Derby Pick

Got a horse racing guy – doesn’t everyone? – and he tells me that Taiba is worth a crack at odds of around +1200 (12/1). He has only started twice as a three-year-old, but he has won BOTH. Taiba also has a Beyer speed figure of over 100 in both races. And his jockey, “Money” Mike Smith, might be 56 years old, but he KNOWS how to win. If you don’t remember, scroll back to 2018 when “Money” Mike won the Triple Crown aboard Justify! And just in case it’s a sloppy/wet track, we’ll throw down some cash on Epicenter, and bet him to win, place and show. Riders UP!!!

Boxing Pick

Close out a phenomenal Saturday on the Strip in Vegas for the Canelo Alvarez/Dmitry Bivol fight. Gonna try the same formula we used for the wager on the Tyson Fury/Deontay Wilder fight. Fury was a gigantic favorite to win straight up, around -600, and that was TOO rich for my blood. So we took the smaller price on a FURY KO, -140, and cashed a sweet ticket.

Same deal here. Not about to lay -550 on Canelo, but will take a fat underdog price with Alvarez for the KO at +280ish. There’s another plus prop that looks very tasty, and that’s Canelo to win in rounds 7-12. Once he wears Bivol down, Alvarez should be able to finish him off, and at +350, my bank account is gonna be VERY happy!


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.