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 game tonight, you wanna know where King James is gonna be hooping next season? Of course, we have you covered. Got the Rockets as the favorite at +150, the 76ers at +300, the Cavaliers and Lakers both at +400, the Spurs at +1500, the Clippers at +2000 and the Heat at +2500. Not seeing the Bucks on the board, but wouldn’t it be fabulous if LeBron and Giannis (can’t spell his last name) get together for a run at the Celtics.
Speaking of the King, does he even have the energy to fight for another 48 minutes? The Cavs AIN’T gonna beat the Warriors four straight, so LeBron knows he is doneZO. Will he even bother to rally the troops? Will the troops even care? So many questions, so few answers. Maybe take a little taste of Cleveland in the first half before they run out of steam in the third quarter. Maybe. And I would take a bite of the OVER. Why? Remember last year’s Finals? The Cavs were down 3-0 and the brooms were out. They didn’t get swept, and the score in Game 4 at Cleveland was 137-116 for the LeBrons. Which obviously went WAY over the posted OVER/UNDER total of 227. Tonight’s total is ONLY 215.5. BOMB the OVER!!!
Belmont Stakes pick
Galloping on to the track in New York for the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes and my horse guy, Martin Calia, has some thoughts.
The question on everybody’s mind is, will Justify become the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown? He is a perfect 5-5 in his short career but will be running his sixth race in 16 weeks. For a thoroughbred, that’s a lot of races. The other colts have been getting closer as the margin of victory was only a 1/2 length in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness. But, I think he will win this race and it won’t be as close as the last one.
One reason why is because he is the fastest horse in the race. He has tactical speed, but I think Big Race Mike Smith will send him from the one post and never look back. Too much is on the line to sit back and let someone dictate the speed of the race. I feel this race is devoid of speed horses who can beat him to the punch. It’s his race to lose and we will find out at the top of the stretch if this long campaign has taken its toll, or, are we witnessing the next super horse. So I like Justify to win, and key him on top for the exacta, trifecta, and super with Hofburg, Vino Rosso and Blended Citizen.
Got a little baseball for you this afternoon in Chicago, where we’ll try the Cubbies with Mike Montgomery over the Pirates.
French Open pick
Gonna dust off the tennis racket again, head to Paris for the French Open, and take Simona Halep to beat Sloane Stephens tomorrow in the women’s final.
And PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, ’cause ya never know when we’ll find another gem 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 ... email@example.com.
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Odds Shark Staff Fri, May 20, 2:01pmVegas