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Las Vegas Expert Picks NCAAF & EPL: Dogs Barking In CFP

Cade McNamara's Wolverines are among this weeks Las Vegas Expert Picks.

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

College Football Picks 

LAS VEGAS - And then there were four. Kicking it off down at the Cotton Bowl where Alabama is a 13.5 point favorite over Cincinnati. We all know the drill. The SEC is the BIG BOY on the college football stage, while the AAC is just, well, just the AAC. It ain't even the ACC!

Cotton Bowl

We all know Nick Saban. SEVEN national titles and the G.O.A.T! We all know Bryce Young, Heisman Trophy winner! We all know his stats, 4,322 yards, 43 TDs, 4 INTs. So, how does Cincy possibly hang? Well, they hung last year with Georgia, who also lives in the SEC, coming up just three points short (24-21) in the Peach Bowl.

That was the Bearcats ONLY loss in the last two years. For those that are counting, the record is 22-1. If you're looking at 'Bama's 5-0 all time bulge over Cincy, you need to know that they have not played since 1990. So, that stat is absolutely irrelevant. Totally understand that the Bearcats played an easier schedule, but the numbers were impressive. They had the 2nd best pass defense in the nation led by an All-America pair of cornerbacks, Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant. And since the Crimson Tide will be WITHOUT superstar WR John Metchie III, they can focus on Jameson Williams and the other WRs.

Then there's a QB on the other side of the field that no one compares to Young, but who can go and get it. Desmond Ridder has started all four years, and his numbers are pretty sweet. He clicked on 65.9% of his throws this season for 3,190 yards, 30 TDs and 8 INTs. He also has legs, gobbling up 361 yards on the ground. When Alabama blew away Georgia in the SEC title game, Bulldog QB Stetson Bennett had seven runs for ONLY 11 yards.

Desmond will NOT leave his barrow in the marketplace like Stetson did. Yea, had to get in a Beatles reference. Finally, in our exhaustive research, we found out that Cincy head coach Luke Fickell used to be the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. 'Bama played Fickell's Buckeyes back in the 2015 Sugar Bowl, and O-State came out on top, 42-35. Not gonna go money line and call the upset, but at +13.5 points, and after buying the hook to +14, gimme some coin on Cincinnati.

Orange Bowl

Down to Miami for the Orange Bowl, and thinking Michigan +7.5 against Georgia is money. Like the way the Wolverines closed out the regular season, CRUSHING Maryland 59-18, Ohio State 42-27 and Iowa 42-3. That's like 143-48. That's like a 31 point per game win margin. That's like CRAZY! Sure Maryland was a pushover, but the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes could ball. And we don't like the way the Bulldogs closed, getting stomped by Alabama 41-24 in the SEC title tilt.

The Wolves come to Miami on a gorgeous 5-0 spread run and have covered eight of the last nine. QB Cade McNamara leads the Michigan offense, and while he doesn't have Bryce Young numbers, he is efficient. He hit on almost 65% of his passes for 2,470 yards, with 15 TDs and just 4 INTs. Sure Georgia leads the nation in scoring defense (9.5 points allowed per game) and ranks second in total defense (254.4 yards per).

But, we remind you, 'Bama SMOKED 'em for FORTY ONE POINTS! And they gave up 332 air yards to a 7-5 Tennessee squad. Also note that Michigan CAN play some D as well. They are tied for the #4 scoring defense in the country with teams averaging just 16.1 points per against 'em. And if you watched the Heisman Trophy show, you probably remember Wolves DE Aidan Hutchinson as one of the finalists. Once again, we will recommend that you buy the hook, then grab Jim Harbaugh's kids +8 points and run to the bank!

Outback Bowl

A little New Year's Day bowl action, and we're on Arkansas -2 points over Penn State. The Nittany Lions opened as high as a -2.5 point favorite, but a TON of money has flooded the market, driving the Razorbacks to a small fav. Like the Hogs QB, KJ Jefferson, because he can hurt you with his arm and his legs. KJ hit on 66.9% of his passes for  

2,578 yards, 21 TDs and only 3 INTs. And he gobbled up 554 on the ground as well. Like the way Arkansas came down the stretch, winning four of the last five, with the only loss coming against Alabama. Penn State managed just two wins in its last seven games, and that's why we're gonna YELL SOOIE PIG for a few hours!

Premier League

Once again, gotta take you on an early ride tomorrow to England, and grab Tottenham over Watford. The Spurs have NOT lost a game since Antonio Conte took over as the new manager, while the Hornets have NOT won a game since the end of November. Watford's OH & FIVE run has seen them give up 15 goals and score only six. Despite DETESTING my wife's favorite team, gotta go Hotspur for the money.


And if you want some NFL winners on Sunday, PLZ hit me on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15 second picks at www.instagram.com/vegasvigorish!

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.