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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA, NHL, MLB

Dante Exum #11 of the Utah Jazz drives around Raymond Felton #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half during Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 23, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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 — David Copperfield, Harry Houdini. Two of the great names in magic, but Vegas has NEVER seen a magic show like the expansion Golden Knights are rolling out every other Knight. Yeah, gotta use the K. NEVER, EVER has a collection of first-year players put together a season like the Knights.

Starting with the show before the show, when an actual Golden Knight on skates beats the crap out of the opposing mascot, to the light show, to the national anthem, this IS NUTZ. Gotta say that I NEVER saw it coming. Just being honest. Figured that Vegas, the team, not the city, would SUCK, just like almost every other expansion team over the last few decades. UH UH. VGK have been, and are AMAZING. Thursday Knight’s 7-0 destruction of a pretty solid San Jose Sharks team was almost dream-like. When do we wake up? Maybe when the Knights roll into the Stanley Cup final against the Penguins!

NBA Picks

Bouncing over to the NBA hardwood for a look at tonight’s action. So, King James had his “Jordan” moment in Game 5, sinking a dagger three-point walk-off. AFTER the ref NEVER called GOALTENDING! Didn’t have a wager on the game, so I didn’t have a dog in the fight, but man, that was SO Captain Obvious. And the NBA actually admitted they BLEW it. They noted, in the Last Two Minute Report, that referees missed the call when James blocked Victor Oladipo’s shot after the ball made contact with the backboard. Now the Pacers come back home to Indiana and are staring summer vacation in the face.

But the blown call should give the Pacers a little extra juice. If you have not noticed, aside from the Game 1 blowout, by Indy, NO other game has ended with a winning margin of more than four points. Of course, when the BEST player on the planet is on the other side, you never feel comfortable. That’s why we’re gonna drop the Pacers into a two-team 6-point teaser, taking Indy from -1 to +5 points against the Cavs. Then we fly up to Salt Lake City, grab Utah, and drop the Jazz from -6 to pick’em against the Thunder.

MLB Pick

On the baseball board, looking at the Nationals with Stephen Strasburg over the D-backs. Arizona will throw Zack Godley, and despite a 3-1 record, he has issues. In the last two outings, Godley has been rocked for 11 hits and seven earned runs in ONLY nine innings of work. Got out the trusty calculator and that works out to a BULBOUS 7.00 ERA. Strasburg has won seven of his last nine in Washington and at -160 seems like a tasty treat.

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.