The Rays highlight this week's Las Vegas expert picks.

Las Vegas Expert Picks: MLB, College Football, Boxing, NFL

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 — First stop is Tropicana Field and we’re gonna roll with the Rays over the Red Sox. Sure, Boston has Chris Sale on the hill, and he can be dynamic, but Tampa is NOT afraid. They faced Sale twice this season, and here are the numbers. A total of nine innings pitched and three earned runs allowed, but that’s not the number that worries the Red Sox.

SIXTEEN hits in nine innings is the number that has Boston shaking like a leaf. The Rays plug in another flamethrower, Shane Baz, a 22-year-old from Cypress, Texas. Baz has started three games after getting called up, allowing just six hits and three earned runs over 13 innings for a spiffy 2.03 ERA.

The Rays have won eight of 11 against the Sox at home, and enjoy a superb 53-29 record inside the Trop.

College Football Pick

Anyone ready to lay TWENTY-NINE points with a Cincinnati team that is coming off a STUNNING 24-13 upset on the road at Notre Dame? Raise your hand. My hand is up, baby. Why? Let’s take a look at Temple so far this season.

The Owls have played two solid teams, Boston College and Rutgers. They lost both games by a combined score of 89-17. Yes, I’m screaming, EIGHTY-NINE to SEVENTEEN!

Sure, Temple has three wins, but beating a 1-4 Akron team is no biggie. Then a 41-7 win against Wagner is really a SO WHAT. The Seahawks play in the FCS, are OH & FIVE, and have been outscored 203-84. OUCH!

Of course, the Bearcats could be due for a letdown, but with a TOP FIVE ranking and a possible spot in the College Football Playoff available, don’t think Luke Fickell will let his kids take their foot off the gas.

Cincy is also working on a RIDONKULOUS 22-0 PERFECTO at home, yes, TWENTY-TWO AND OH! Gotta gimme the ’Cats for the money! 

Tomorrow, got another spectacular winning three-team 10-point teaser starting with Tennessee. Gonna drop the Vols from -10.5 to minus a hook, and watch ’em just win, baby. Then it’s SMU, and gonna slice the Mustangs from -13 to -3 points over Navy. Close it out down in College Station, where we will take Alabama down from -18 to -8 points over Texas A&M.

Boxing Pick

Not crazy about the heavyweight title bout tomorrow between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, but will take a teeny-tiny skinny taste of Wilder for a KO at around 3/1.

NFL Pick

On to Sunday and we’re rocking the Chargers -2 points over the Browns. This is what we read from an AP story, word for word.

“BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been playing with a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. Mayfield suffered the injury to the non-throwing shoulder on September 19 while trying to make a tackle against the Houston Texans, and has been wearing a shoulder harness since.”

So, no matter what the Baker says and how he tries to minimize the injury, it’s a problem, a YUGE problem. Last week was one of his weakest games in quite a while. He hit on only 15 of 33 passes for 155 yards in Cleveland’s 14-7 win against the Vikings.

And with Joey Bosa leading a very stingy San Diego – oops, L.A. – defense, it will not be easy for Mayfield. The Chargers have allowed only 18.5 points per game, and those numbers have come against the Cowboys, Chiefs and Raiders, three high-octane offenses. The Browns have been dominant on D as well, with Myles Garrett collecting six sacks. They have allowed just 66.5 rushing yards per game and only 16 ppg.

Sure, those are eye-popping, but hold on, let’s look at who was on the other side of the field. We’re talking Texans (No. 30), Vikings (No. 15) and Bears (No. 32), three of the most offensively challenged teams in the NFL. Lightning strikes again, and we gotta have the Bolts for the money!

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!

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 winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his