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Las Vegas Expert Picks: MLB, Olympic Basketball

Kevin Durant and Team USA look to win the gold medal in men's basketball on Saturday in Tokyo.

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

MLB Pick

LAS VEGAS – Humbly down on one knee to ask your forgiveness. Last week, we had four selections, and were looking to sweep the board to go 7-0. Sadly, we missed on the women's tennis match for the gold, and had to settle for 6-1 the last two columns. I'll try and do better. Try and be a better BETTOR!
       
First stop is the West coast and we'll look at the A's with Chris Bassitt over the Rangers.

Bassitt is sitting at 11-3 and one of the main reasons that Oakland is holding down the second wildcard spot. He has also been aces against Texas, winning all three times he faced them, and allowing just two earned runs over 21 innings.

On the other side of the matchup, Mike Foltynewicz is struggling. He has only one win in seven road decisions and has been BOMBED for SEVENTEEN earned runs over the last 10 innings. BIG OUCH! Gimme the Athletics for the money!

Men's Olympic Basketball Pick

Now we're gonna swing out to Japan, and check out the men's gold medal game.

KD might change his initials to AU, which, on the periodic table of elements, is GOLD BAABBBEEE! The USA fell behind Australia by 15 points and ROARED back to beat the Aussies by 19.

France barely squeezed past Slovenia, 90-89, and basically had to worry about only two players, Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic. In the race for the gold, the French will have a FEW more worries aside from Kevin Durant.

Like Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Bam Adebayo. Oh yea, and that's just the starting five. Greg Pop also has a few decent players like Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum and Zach LaVine coming off the bench.

And this is also a REVENGE game. France beat the Stars & Stripes in the opening Group A game 83-76, but it looked like we were sleepwalking. KD had just 10 points, while Middleton (0 points) and Booker (4 points) were both coming off an emotional NBA final, just touched down in Tokyo, and were obviously not ready to play.

They're READY NOW! Thinking that our kids will be biting that hunk of gold as the national anthem plays in the background!!!

Women's Olympic Basketball Pick

Stay with me for the women's gold medal game tomorrow, and we're gonna buy the USA -18 points over Japan.

Obviously, the Japanese women have home court/home country advantage, but the women that rep the Stars & Stripes are on ANOTHER LEVEL!

The ladies opened up with an 86-69 victory over Japan in the preliminary round, followed by an 81-72 victory over Nigeria. They blew past Australia 79-55 in quarterfinals, then ripped Serbia 79-59 in the semifinal.

The USA is on track for its SEVENTH STRAIGHT GOLD, and if the past six are any indication, it should be a breeze. S

ince we did the research, here are the final scores for the last six gold medal games. In 1996 it was 111-87 over Brazil. In 2000, it was 76-54 over Australia. In 2004, it was 74-63 over Australia again. In 2008, it was 92-65 over Australia once again for the hat trick. In 2012, it was 86-50 over France. And in 2016, it was a 101-72 blowout against Spain.

My calculator tells me that's an average winning margin of 24.8 points per golden game. Gimme the USWNBT, and you can BOOK IT!!!

And if you're looking for more picks this weekend, PLZ hit me on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15 second picks at www.instagram.com/vegasvigorish!

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.