Las Vegas Expert Picks

Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA, NHL And MLB

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 -- Still counting my cash from last week's hat trick, Bayern Over, the Avalanche to win and the Grizzlies +6. THREE & OH BAABBEEE!!!

MLB Pick

Lemme start you off on the baseball board, roll down to the ATL, and look at the Braves/Phillies game. Not thinking about the winning side, but will take a strong look at the total. Looks like 8.5 runs and we're all over the UNDER. Did I say all over the Under? Wow. Sending this graph to the Pulitzer Prize committee for consideration in the category of 'best writing by a sports odds guy with two names that start with the letter V.' 

So, why Under? Did a deep dive on the two pitchers, which should be Max 'Deep' Fried against Aaron 'Nols' Nola. Deep-Fried has been spectacular the last five times out, allowing only two earned runs over the last 23 innings for a 0.78 ERA. Nola, or Nols to his inner circle, has allowed just two earned runs over the last 21 innings for a 0.86 ERA. Add 'em both together, and the total ERA is 1.64. If they get to 9 runs, I'll walk to my mailbox in the 109 degree Vegas heat, WITHOUT flip-flops!

Also, if you can find it, looking at an Over/Under total on Nola strikeouts, probably around 5.5, and would look at going OVER. Nols has punched out seven, 12, 10 and eight over his last four starts, so OVER 5.5 looks like money.

NHL Pick

As long as we're rocking totals, how about one on the ice tonight. You might have to shop around a bit, but gonna take OVER 1.5 goals in the 2nd period of the Blues/Canucks game. In the first five games of this series, there have been 15 second period goals. My calculator tells me that's an average of three goals per.

Both teams have been averaging Over 2.5 goals in the 2nd period in the Edmonton bubble since the restart, so we're pushing a handful of chips to the middle of the table, and banking on at least TWO goals in the 2nd period.

NBA Pick

Now we'll dribble on to the NBA hardwood, and throw down on the Lakers -7 points over the Blazers tomorrow. L.A. finally did L.A. We had a big pile of chips on the LeBrons in game two, and it was NEVER in doubt. Speaking of LeBron, he had ONLY 10 points and the Lake Show still won by TWENTY THREE POINTS! What! Yea, Anthony Davis stepped up, BIG TIME, with 31 points and 11 boards.

But the real key was the Pope, no, not the guy at the Vatican, although I hear he shoots WICKED GOOD from downtown, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. After throwing a bagel at the rim in game one, 0-5 from deep, 0-9 from everywhere, the Pope hit on 4-of-6 from the arc, 5-of-8 overall, finishing with 16 points.

Now if King James gets back to his normal production, 25+ points per game, which is his season average, expect the Purple & Gold to win by at least twenty points once again!

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 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 protected].