Boston Bruins right wing David Backes (42) drops St. Louis Blues left wing Sammy Blais (9) hard to the ice. During Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals featuring the Boston Bruins against the St. Louis Blues on May 29, 2019 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA & NHL Playoffs, Champions League Final

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.


Most folks in my business are thinking no juice is a Vodka NEAT. UH-UH. It’s NO JUICE SATURDAY at the brand new Circa sportsbook in downtown Vegas at the Golden Gate Hotel. Derek Stevens, who owns the Gate and the D Hotel on Fremont Street, is Sportsbook the first INDEPENDENT sportsbook in years. And his hook is, NO JUICE SATURDAY!

Yeah, just one day, with no juice, no vig, but there are limits. Mike Palm, VP of operations, told me they’ll take $5,000 on MLB games, sides only, no totals, $10,000 on the Stanley Cup game, and $20,000 on the UEFA title tilt between Liverpool and Tottenham.

Palm told me they’re also gonna have a MILLION-DOLLAR football contest, NFL only, to compete with the SuperContest at the Sportsbook SuperBook. The Circa contest will cost you a dime to enter, $500 less than the Sportsbook, and will have a GUARANTEED million-dollar payout.

But you gotta sign up in person here in Vegas, then you can use a proxy for the rest of the season. If you’re planning a visit, and you need a proxy, yell at me, I know ’em all. This new Circa is just a satellite sportsbook, and a little smaller than my living room.

However, by the end of 2020, Derek will be Sportsbook a gorgeous new hotel, yes, the Circa, on the corner of Main & Fremont. It’ll have a SICK three-storey sportsbook, above a pool, where you can just swim up to the counter and make your bets in a SPEEDO! If you can still fit into your Speedo!

Champions League Final pick

OK, I’m not gonna drop TWENTY DIMES on the UEFA title game, but do like Liverpool to lift the trophy. The price is right at only -125 here in Vegas at the Sportsbook SuperBook, and the Reds have already posted two Premier League wins against the Spurs. With or without Harry Kane, the Liverpudlians are the side.

Stanley Cup Final pick

Lacing up the skates and looking at the Stanley Cup tomorrow night, gonna ride with St. Louis, and didn’t even need to ask my tattooist. Last week, we wrote, “gonna roll light with the Bruins in the opener, and if they win, flip to the Blues in Game 2.” BANG! Of course, if St. Loo loses tomorrow, we come back with BOTH HANDS on the Blues in Game 4.

NBA Finals pick

On the NBA hardwood Sunday, still not sure that the Warriors can beat the Raptors without Kevin Durant, at least up north, and a little wary about betting Toronto. So, just like I did in Game 1, gonna rock a few prop wagers, specifically, the Winning Margin proposition. Taking both Golden State and Toronto to win by 7-9 points at +800 and 10-13 points at +800. Dropping a half a Benjamin on each play.

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 He is beloved by most, when he picks Sportsbooks, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his