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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA, NHL, MLB, Boxing

Steven Stamkos #91 and Anton Stralman #6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate winning Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Boston Bruins during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 6, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.

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 — No fooling around today, SOOOO much to get to. Ice, hoops, bases and boxing.

NHL pick

First up, it’s Ice Ice baby. Yeah, I’m a fan of the Vanilla man, don’t judge me. Gonna skate with the Lightning over the Capitals in Game 1. Love the way Tampa closed out both the Devils and the Bruins AT HOME. Skating in Tampa has proved to be VERY successful for the Bolts, with a 5-1 record so far in the playoffs. So, you just looked at Washington’s body of work in the playoffs, and noticed that the Caps are 5-1 on the road in their first two series. So, why Tampa, Eck?

Here’s what is floating around in my brain. Beating the Penguins was a MONUMENTAL hill to climb for Alexander Ovechkin and his crew. They climbed it, and I say, well done. But they are only human, so they will have to sit back and take a breath. On the other bench, the Lightning EXPECT to be in the conference final. They have made it three of the last four years. Gimme the Bolts, baby!

On the ice tomorrow in Winnipeg, and we most def have to skate with the Jets. LOVE the WHITEOUT, and think that my hometown Vegas Golden Knights might finally show some cracks.

MLB pick

If you need some Friday baseball, try the Angels with Tyler Skaggs over the Twins.

Boxing pick

Stepping inside the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City tomorrow, even though the price is enormous, like -$1300, we gotta roll with “The Matrix,” Vasyl Lomachenko, over Jorge “El Nino de Oro” Linares. If you’re not fluent in Spanish, “El Nino de Oro” translates to “Golden Boy.” So, basically, Linares STOLE the nickname from Oscar De La Hoya. Strike one. Strike two is Lomachenko’s SUPERB 10-1 record as a pro. He actually frustrates his opponents so badly that they started calling him NO MAS CHENKO! And strike three is simple. Vasyl is simply THE best pound-for-pound boxer in the world!!!

NBA pick

Dribbling on to the hardwood Sunday, despite the fact that Boston’s Brad Stevens is the best coach to come along since Pop at San Antonio, the Cavaliers still have the KING! Would stay light in Game 1, and peg Cleveland to win the series.

On Monday, the fireworks start in the Western Conference final, and my keyboard says that the Warriors are goin’ to the NBA Finals. However, might take a tiny taste of the Rockets in Game 1.

And PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, ’cause ya never know when we’ll find a gem on the baseball diamond or the soccer pitch.

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.