Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors high fives rapper Drake during game four of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on May 21, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA & NHL Playoffs, MLB, Drake Props

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

MLB Pick

LAS VEGAS — Baseball takes center stage tonight, and I’m gonna crack open the MLB pitcher’s bible – naturally, I have a bible for every sport – and roll with the Cubs over the Reds. Chicago sends Kyle Hendricks to the hill, and the mini-Greg Maddux clone has been on point so far this season. Especially at Wrigley. In four starts at home, Hendricks has allowed ONLY TWO earned runs over 29 innings. My calculator tells me that works out to a MICROSCOPIC 0.62 ERA. What! He has also won four of the last five, and owns a very profitable 6-2 lifetime record against Cincy.

The Reds send Anthony DeSclafani to the bump, and this righty seems to have lost his way. How lost? He has been raked for 14 hits and eight earned runs over the last eight innings, and I didn’t even need the calculator to figure out his BULBOUS 9.00 ERA. And oh yeah, the Cubbies have the second-best home record in the National League at 17-7. Now I just gotta find out who is doing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!”

NBA Playoffs Pick

Me, Stephen A., and SVP. What do we all have in common? Jumping all over the Bucks to whip the Raptors after Sportsbook the series with two wins. And MAN, were we all DOPES. Thank you Kawhi. Leonard is getting into rarefied air, approaching LeBron’s playoff numbers. No wonder why the city of Toronto is going all out to keep him in Canada. There is a fabulous “Ka’Wine & Dine” sticker on restaurants around the city with Leonard’s image and at the bottom it says, “Kawhi Eats Free Here!” FOR LIFE!!!

And this guy at The Condo Store Realty Inc. is offering Leonard a multimillion-dollar penthouse if he stays with the team. Yup, if Kawhi re-signs with the Raptors, he can choose between several luxury penthouses either at the Shangri-La, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons or St. Regis. We understand that each owner at the St. Regis is looked after by a personal butler. Yo Kawhi, if you don’t do St. Regis, I’m ALL-IN.

Oh yeah, gotta have a pick. Apparently, Double N, Nick Nurse, figured something out after the first two games, specifically, how to handle Giannis, and it’s working like a charm. Maybe it was Drake’s shoulder massage that gave him the inspiration. In the first two, the Greek Freak scored 24 and 30. In the next three, he had 12, 25 and 24. He had a combined plus/minus of +25 in the first two games, then -18 in the next three. Ouch! Gimme the NORTH!

Drake Props

Don’t know much about Drake, but our talented guys at Sportsbook have come out with some fantastic prop wagers. My fav is, will Drake touch Nick Nurse during the Game 6 broadcast? No is -500 vs Yes at +300. We are ALL OVER the YES, and here’s why. The prop asks if Drake will touch Nurse during the broadcast, NOT during the game. During the BROADCAST. So, we’re 100 percent that Aubrey Drake Graham, yup, his actual name, will put a finger, a hand, an elbow or some body part on Nurse. BOOK IT, BABY!!!

NHL Playoffs Pick

Lacing up the skates and looking at the Stanley Cup matchup, we’re gonna take a pass on a series wager, and play game by game. Gonna roll light with the Bruins in the opener, and if they win, flip to the Blues in Game 2. Of course, if St. Loo throws down a W in Game 1, we DOUBLE UP on Boston in Game 2.

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