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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA & NHL Playoffs, MLB

Norman Powell Toronto Raptors Orlando Magic NBA Playoffs Las Vegas Expert Betting Picks

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

NBA Picks

LAS VEGAS — Jumping onto the NBA hardwood tonight and using the Raptors -5 points over the Magic. Occasionally, when you’re rolling, and things come too easy, the bogeyman pays a visit. That’s exactly what happened to the Raps in the opener at Toronto. They came in with a sweet 7-1 record to close the regular season, which included a rather easy 121-109 victory over Orlando. So, then the North apparently went to sleep and lost the first game 104-101. Did anyone say WAKE-UP CALL??? Yeah, well they WOKE for Game 2 and destroyed the Magic 111-82. And Kawhi was REALLY WOKE, knocking down 37 points, with eight boards, four assists and two steals. Not expecting the Raptors to win by 29 points down in Florida, but a touchdown and a two-point conversion sounds about right.

The Celtics/Pacers series shifts to Indiana, and unless the Pacers have a secret weapon, or Victor Oladipo comes back, trouble is brewing. Boston comes to Indy on a 5-0 roll against the Pacers, straight up and against the spread. The C’s have also covered five of the last six overall, and three in a row on the road. Looking at the big picture, Boston’s overall spread log sits at 40-42-2, 18-21-2 on the road and 32-33-2 as a favorite. The Pacers’ overall spread mark is 40-43-1, 23-18 at home and 16-21 as an underdog. Gimme the C’s.

And just in case you wanna have some teaser action, gotcha. Rolling out a two-team 6-point tease. Gonna take the Celtics from +3 to +9 points against the Pacers, then finish with the Thunder and drop OKC from -7.5 to -1.5 points against the Blazers.

NHL Pick

Skating onto the ice, gotta take a taste of the Bruins over the Maple Leafs. After beating the Leafs in Toronto 6-4, and knotting the series at 2-2, believe that Boston is the side tonight. A loss here and they go back to Canada down 3-2, giving Toronto a chance to close out on home ice. Put a big fat W next to the Bruins. 

MLB Picks

On the baseball board, we’re gonna rock the Cards with Adam Wainwright over the Mets this evening. Wainwright had a few issues in his first start, but bounced back with two solid outings, while New York’s Jason Vargas is getting hammered. He has been ripped for 10 hits and six earned runs in just 5.1 innings of work.

Also like the Padres with Matt Strahm over the Reds. This kid, like Wainwright, struggled in his first outing, but the next two starts, WOW! How about allowing only one earned run over 10 innings for a microscopic 0.90 ERA. My daddy taught me that when you see a ZERO as the first number of the ERA, OPEN the wallet, BABY!!!

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 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.