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 — Not ready to fire on any of the NBA preseason games, but do like a game on the college hoop board, and it’s St. John’s +4.5 points against Seton Hall.
Just a quick note on the starting time. The game goes at 4:30 ET (1:30 PT). Gotta keep an eye on Red Storm guard Rasheem Dunn, who is listed as questionable, but as long as Vince Cole and Julian Champagnie are on the floor, it’s all Johnnies.
They have won five of six to open the season, with the only loss coming against Brigham Young at the Mohegan Sun Arena up in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Pirates are 3-3 and have not really impressed anyone. Bought St. John’s on the overnight opener at +7.5, but still like the Red Storm even at +4.5.
NCAAF Pick & Teaser
Swinging over to the college football board tomorrow, and you can call me crazy – many have – but I’m going against the WISE GUYS. The Iowa-Wisconsin game opened up with the Hawkeyes -2.5 at home. GOBS of cash steamed in and changed the favorite to Wiscy. WHY? Iowa has won five in a row and will be looking to end the season with a W, while the Badgers have scored 13 points the last two games. Yeah, they’re averaging a STUNNING 6.5 points per game! WHAT!
So, put the Hawkeyes in as the first team in my 10-point three-team teaser, and bump ’em up from +2 to +12 points against Wiscy. Then we’re going to the beach, and taking North Carolina from +3 to +13 points against Miami-Florida. Finish up right behind the bright lights of the Vegas Strip at Allegiant Stadium, and drop Fresno State from -12 to -2 points against New Mexico.
Moving to Sunday, gonna grab the Lions +8 points over the Packers. Yeah, I know, using the 5-7 Detroit team against the 9-3 Cheeseheads looks a little odd, but lemme explain. The Lions fired their coach, Matt Patricia, and replaced him with Darrell Bevell. Not saying that Bevell is the next Bill Belichick, but any coach that tells his team to come out and “play with your hair on fire” is my kinda guy.
Detroit wiped out a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter last week as Matthew Stafford hit on 27 of 42 for 402 yards and 3 TDs. Just as important is the result of the early game between the Vikings and Bucs. If Minny loses, then Green Bay clinches the NFC North, and might just be a little less jacked up.
No such problem in Motown as the Lions are sitting just one game out of the wild card. So, we’re gonna expect a Minny loss (maybe a cover) down at Tampa, and while I do NOT have much hair to set on fire, there’s just one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!!
And while we’re talking Sunday, how about another 10-point three-team teaser. Kick it off with Denver and bump the Broncos up from +3 to +13 points against the Panthers. C’mon out to Vegas and plump the Raiders up from +3 to +13 points against the Colts. Close up shop in Cleveland on Monday night, and take the Browns up from +2.5 to +12.5 points against the Ravens.
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...email@example.com.