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 — Since winning the Cy Young Award in 2019, Justin Verlander has pitched a total of six innings the last two years. He had Tommy John surgery in 2020 and missed all of the 2021 season.
So, obviously, he is a question mark entering the 2022 campaign. Well, you can delete the question mark because Verlander has looked like, well, Verlander in his first two starts. In his first outing against the Angels, he went five innings, threw 80 pitches and allowed three hits and one earned run. Nice effort but he took the loss.
In his second start, Justin stretched out to eight innings and 87 pitches, allowing just three hits and ZERO earned runs. He grabbed the W and speaking of zeroes, his ERA is so SKINNY you can hardly see it at 0.69!
So, we are gonna throw a bundle of chips at the Monarch. Who? What? Yeah, Verlander answers to the nickname Monarch because he went to college at Old Dominion University and, yup, they are the Monarchs.
Thinking about taking a little taste of the Bulls at +3 now that F Khris Middleton is out. Still gonna keep it real light because Milwaukee has that guy, you know, his name begins with a G!
Checking in on MLB tomorrow and we’re looking at the Twins with Dylan Bundy over the White Sox. Looks like the change of scenery has been a real plus for Bundy. After a lackluster 2-9 record with the Angels last season, OK, call it UGLIFIED, Dylan is rocking the party in Minny. He has started twice, won both times, and allowed just one teeny tiny earned run in 10 innings, which works out to a 0.90 ERA.
And for all those that have been sitting at the Ecks & Bacon table for the last few years, you remember what my dad always told me. When you see an ERA with a ZERO as the first number, RUN to the bank, get some cash and call your bookie. Dad ain’t around any more, but woulda been amazed that I can just pick up my phone, hit an app and bet. Twins for the money!
Jumping over to London for the Tyson Fury/Dillian Whyte dust-up, and a bit conflicted. Not gonna lay $600 to win back $100 with the Gypsy King, but think that he’s gonna walk away with the heavyweight crown still on his head. So, without getting crazy, we’ll throw a few dollars at the Fury KO prop and lay a much more reasonable $140 to win back $100.
Close out the card on the NBA hardwood tomorrow in Brooklyn and gonna try the Nets over the Celtics. Gotta admit that Boston is the better team, and that Ime Udoka is coaching RINGS around Steve Nash. But going down 3-0 is LIGHTS-OUT, so gotta slide a few pennies toward Bklyn. Expecting a HUMONGOUS game from KD and another show from Kyrie. Still gonna keep it light, and only wager on the Nets at -3.
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...firstname.lastname@example.org.