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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NCAAF Bowl Games, NFL Week 16

Ecks and Bacon December 20, 2019 Lamar Jackson

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 — Let’s go BOWLING, baby!!!

The madness kicks off today with the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl featuring Buffalo as a 6.5-point favorite over Charlotte. If you wouldn’t mind, gimme your most IDIOTIC bowl name on the board, and we’ll see if it matches up with mine.

Anyway, Makers Wanted is a slogan, a call to action for Elk Grove Village, which is home to the largest industrial park in the United States. Useless info, but you never know when it’ll come up on Jeopardy!


Back to the game, and while we’re not gonna drop a ton of chips in the early bowl games, we will throw down a two-team, 6-point teaser. Grab the Bulls from Upstate New York and take ’em down from -6.5 to -0.5 over Charlotte.

Then turn to the – are you ready for this – Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. Take Kent State from +6.5 to +12.5 points against Utah State. Like the fact that the Golden Flashes from Ohio rumble into Texas with a gorgeous 5-0 PERFECTO as an underdog.

Got a handful of bowls tomorrow, and here’s my flow. Have NO FREAKIN’ idea about the Celebration Bowl between Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T, so the wallet is closed.

Gonna tag all these games as kinda medium plays, no best bets in the bunch. In the New Mexico Bowl, gonna roll with Central Michigan +3.5 over San Diego State. In the Cure Bowl, got Liberty +4.5 over Georgia Southern. In the Boca Raton Bowl, gimme Florida Atlantic, AT HOME, +3.5 against SMU.

In the Camellia Bowl, staying in Florida, this time it’s International +2.5 against Arkansas State. In my hometown Las Vegas Bowl, pushing in a few chips on Washington -3.5 over Boise State. And in the New Orleans Bowl, I’ll take a little taste of Appalachian State -16.5 over UAB.

NFL Picks

On the NFL board tomorrow, have a small play to the Texans -3 over the Bucs. Usually, it’s all about that bass (google the Meghan Trainor song), but in this matchup, it’s all about that thumb. Jameis Winston has a small fracture and that might cause some problems. So will Deshaun Watson, who has covered five of seven on the road.

And now for the piece de resistance, which is French for I’m 11-4 on BEST BETS this season, it’s the Ravens -10 over the Browns. Baltimore needs two more wins and it’s home field all the way to the Super Bowl. The Ravens lost to Kaycee and will not see the Chiefs until the playoffs. The other loss was a total and UTTER EMBARRASSMENT. A 45-20 UGLY to Cleveland. IN BALTIMORE! Ouch!

So, along with playing for the No. 1 seed, REVENGE will be the main course on the table. What happened in that game? Glad you asked. Lamar “MVP” Jackson had a lousy outing, passing for 247 yards, throwing two INTs and getting sacked four times. AIN’T gonna happen this week.

Jackson just broke Michael Vick’s record for rushing yards by a QB, and he AIN’T done. He also had FIVE TD passes against the Jets last week, and yup, he AIN’T done. And it looks like everyone wants out of Cleveland.

When you have players asking the team they’re playing to “come get me,” that AIN’T conducive to a winning mentality. The Ravens have covered nine of the last 11 in Cleveland, and at 82 percent, there’s only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!!

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.