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 — Before we get to the picks, we have an update for the Nevada casinos’ net winnings in March, and PENNIES still RULE! After a lackluster month of February, the penny slots roared back with a $341-million win. Moral of this story? SAVE your PENNIES!
The other takeaway is the sports win. The dollar figure went up by six mill (February was $30.9 million), but as with most months, sports is at the bottom of the win list. Here are the numbers:
- Penny slots $341.3 million
- Baccarat $131.7 million
- Blackjack $104.6 million
- Roulette $54.0 million
- Craps $41.0 million
- Sports $36.9 million
Back to the MLB diamond tonight and we’re looking at the Athletics with Francellis “Frankie” Montas over the Guardians. Montas is sitting at 2-2, but after an ugly Sportsbook Day start, he has bounced back strong, winning two of three. And Frankie LOVES to pitch at home. Going back to the end of last season, Montas has won four of the last five in Oakland and allowed just five earned runs over 41 innings for a 1.09 ERA. Cleveland has lost seven in a row, getting swept by the Yankees in a three-game set and then losing four straight to the Angels.
Cardinals vs D-backs
On to some Saturday afternoon baseball and we’ll drop some love on the Cardinals over the D-backs. And it’s all about Miles Mikolas. Double M looked like he was on the verge of a stellar career after posting a gorgeous 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA back in 2018. Sadly, 2019 was a bust (9-14) and then he had Tommy John surgery in 2020, missing the entire season. Mikolas didn’t make it back till last August and was just OK, with a 2-3 record and a 4.23 ERA. But 2022 is starting to look like 2018.
Miles has started four times, with one win and three no-decisions, but his ERA is sitting in the WOW quadrant at 1.21. Actually, he has not given up a run in the last 12 innings, and should be able to breeze past Arizona.
NBA Playoff Picks
Close out the card Sunday on the NBA hardwood and gonna roll with the Celtics over the Bucks. Yeah, Milwaukee looked good taking down Chicago, but SO WHAT! The Bulls finished up without all-star Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso while Lonzo Ball never made it onto the court.
But there’s more. These two teams met four times and home cookin’ ruled. Back in November, at Boston, the Celtics (-5.5) beat the Bucks 122-113. The OVER/UNDER total was 209.5 and went high. The next game was also in Boston, on December 13, and the Celtics (PK) beat the Bucks 117-103. The OVER/UNDER total was 223.0 and went low. On Christmas Day, the Bucks (-7.5) beat the Celtics in Milwaukee 117-113. The OVER/UNDER total was 221.5 and went high.
In the final matchup, on April 7 in Milwaukee, the Bucks (-8.5) beat the Celtics 127-121. The OVER/UNDER total was 227.5 and went high. However, two VERY IMPORTANT facts about that game: Jayson Tatum, Boston’s ALL-WORLD SUPERSTAR, did NOT play, while Milwaukee’s second-best player, Khris Middleton, DID. Now, you can reverse it. Tatum is playing lights-out in the playoffs and Middleton is just OUT. EDGE Boston. YUGE edge BOSTON!
Also like the fact that the Celtics came through the wars in the Atlantic Division against the 76ers, Raptors, Nets and Knicks. Without a doubt, THE BEST division in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Bucks skated through the weaker Central Division against the Bulls, Cavaliers, Pacers and Pistons. Again, EDGE Boston.
Cannot wait to see Grayson Allen bounced around by the very physical Celtics and then listen to the manic home crowd laugh and cheer. If you noticed that the results from the four games between these teams had a Boston slant, your eyes are very sharp.
Where it matters, at the betting window, the C’s were 4-0 vs the spread against the Bucks. My wallet is wide open and expecting 5-0 after the final buzzer on Sunday. Also gonna drop a handful of chips on the Celtics to win the series and advance to the Eastern Conference final.
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 Sportsbooks, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his Email...firstname.lastname@example.org.