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Las Vegas Expert Picks: MLB, Pacquiao-Thurman

WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (L) and WBA welterweight super champion Keith Thurman pose during a news conference at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 17, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two will meet in a WBA welterweight title fight on July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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 — Baseball pick tonight is on the Left Coast. Anyone interested in laying $300 to win back $100, check this out. It’s the Dodgers, best team in the National League, vs the Marlins, yes, the worst team in the NL. Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound for Los Angeles, and he has been phenomenal this season. He owns a 10-2 record and a 1.78 ERA. Those numbers are staggering, Cy Young-worthy, but if you can believe it, they are actually even BETTER at home.

Ryu has started nine games at Dodger Stadium, with a 7-0 record, and two L.A. wins in the no-decision games. He gobbled up 63 innings while allowing only six earned runs.

The calculator tells me that’s a 0.86 ERA, and you know my dad, any time there’s a ZERO as the first number of the ERA, we push the chips in. Miami counters with rookie Zac Gallen, and while he devoured the PCL (9-1, 1.77 ERA this season), the kid has NEVER seen anything like this relentless Dodgers lineup.

Pacquiao-Thurman Pick

Gotta lace up the boxing gloves for a look at the Manny Pacquiao/Keith Thurman match on Saturday here in Vegas. Kinda amazing the way this price has gone from an open of Thurman a small favorite, to Manny now anywhere from -160 to -170. That’s a YUGE move and something kinda hard to understand.

I mean “One Time” Thurman is TEN years younger than Senator Pacquiao, and he has a 29-0 lifetime PERFECTO, with 22 KOs. Sure, Manny has won 70 fights, with 39 KOs, and can still punch with power, occasionally, but as he approaches the end of his career, his fists of fury are more like patty cake, patty cake. The Pac-Man has had only ONE knockout in the last 10 years, in 15 fights, against Lucas Matthysse in 2018.

Teddy Atlas, one of the most amazing minds in the boxing world for the last 40 years, has an interesting take. He likes Thurman by unanimous decision.

“Coming off his long layoff, Thurman’s performance against Josesito Lopez probably has Pacquiao thinking he can catch him going straight back. And looking at Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner, I believe Thurman can catch Pacquiao coming in. Too big, young and strong, Thurman drops the old iconic champion on his way to a unanimous decision win.”

Teddy is usually very sharp with his predictions, and I’m gonna take the underdog price.

Also gonna try a few props. Gimme Thurman by a KO or TKO at +600 and also by a decision at +200. Gotta try UNDER 11.5 rounds at a very generous +280.

PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops on the baseball diamond.

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.