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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final, MLB

Carl Gunnarsson #4 and Jordan Binnington #50 of the St. Louis Blues defend the goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period in Game Five of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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 — If anyone calls you, emails you, texts you, DMs you, and tells you that they have a stone-cold LOCK on Game 4 tonight, HANG UP! We saw what happened on Wednesday night, when the Warriors opened -6, then dropped like a rock in a barrel of feathers all the way down to -3 when Klay Thompson was ruled out.

NBA Finals Pick

Tonight, it could be even jumpier. Will Kevin Durant play? He’s now listed as questionable, or out, depending on who you believe. Klay should play and is now listed as probable. So, there could literally be three or four iterations of the line.

Right now, which is actually yesterday for those reading this, since I’m always a day ahead, GSW is listed at -5 all over Vegas, with a total of 216. If KD had an overnight miracle, and he and Klay both play, the line probably jumps around 2 points, maybe more.

If KD is out and Klay plays, the line probably stays at -5 or -5.5. If both are out, the number will drop again, probably down to -3.5 or -3. How do you handicap that? You DON’T. Well, you can, but I will NOT open my wallet.

Of course, a tiny little sweet-tasting prop wager might be in order. Just got word that Klay IS gonna play tonight, and in case he goes off, and has one of THOSE Klay games, we’ll drop a quarter of a Benjamin on Thompson at +2000 to score the most points in the game.

MLB Pick

On the MLB board tonight, gonna look at the Blue Jays with Marcus Stroman over the D-backs. Call this an audition. Toronto is gonna be dealing on or before the July 31 trade deadline. The Jays are sitting at 23-39, 16.5 games out of first place, and they will be looking to rebuild. Stroman is one of the most attractive pieces on the market for a few reasons. He’s only 28 years old and is under wraps through 2020.

And with his $6.3-million salary this season and an as yet to be determined arbitration salary next year, the price is right. His record this season, 3-7, is kinda ugly, but he IS playing for a sad-sack team and does have a gorgeous 2.84 ERA.

Arizona sends Merrill Kelly to the bump and this guy has given up 39 hits over the last 32 innings. When you allow more than a hit per inning, ya gotta look the other away, especially with a guy that’s auditioning for a top-level club.

Stanley Cup Final Pick

Skating onto the ice, gotta tickle the Blues on Sunday to win their FIRST-EVER Cup. Naturally, the Bruins are gonna come out like mad men in the first period, with loads of anger & gobs of snot, after not getting a penalty call on the OBVIOUS trip in Game 5.

As long as St. Loo matches the early onslaught, the Blue Crew will be sipping champagne and many other beverages from Lord Stanley’s Cup.

PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops in the NBA, NHL or MLB.

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.