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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NCAAF, NFL

Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams enters on to the field before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

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 — Gonna start the party with some action tonight in the Pac-12, and looking at Washington State +4.5 points against USC. Southern Cal probably thought they would catch some lightning in the proverbial bottle with freshman QB J.T. Daniels. The kid is probably gonna be a star, but it might take a few more games. After beating a lousy UNLV team in the opener, SC lost at Stanford 17-3 and at Texas 37-14. Mike Leach’s Cougars are off to another fast start (last year it was 6-0 before losing to California), winning and covering their first three games. The Cougs have been phenomenal against the spread, covering 10 of the last 13 and at 77 percent, that is the way to a bulging bank account. State beat the Trojans last season, 30-27, and that was a MUCH better team, with the No. 3 draft choice, Sam Darnold, at QB. Gonna drop some love on the visitors and the Air Raid offense.

NFL picks

Now we’ll move to Sunday, and throw you the Rams -7 points over the Chargers. In the battle for the heart & soul of Los Angeles, totally believe that the Rams are, without a doubt, the best team in the NFL. And Vegas agrees with me. The Rams are now the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl, with the number at +600 in most spots. The Patriots are now the second choice at +700. Last week, we had no problem laying double digits, the line against Arizona closed -13.5, and the Rams walked off with a 34-0 bagel.

They should be just as motivated against a team that’s trying to capture some L.A. love after moving up from San Diego. And yes, Philip Rivers was amazing last week, completing 23 of 27 for 256 yards and three TDs with no INTs, but that was against Buffalo. We’re talking BUFFALO! Could repeat the line 17 more times, but then people would accuse me of stealing some thunder from “The Answer,” and his ALL-TIME GREAT practice rant. Only one thing left to say. Yup, this is my BEST BET, BABY!!!

And how about a little NFL tease for you too. You know the drill. Three-teamer and add 10 points to the fav or dog. So, take the Lions from +7 to +17 points over the Patriots. Why? You all know the story. Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator at New England for the last six years, and should know a little somethin’ somethin’ about how to handle Tom Brady. Then grab the Seahawks and take ’em from -1 to +9 points against the Cowboys. And you know we have reasons.

Dallas’ defense abused the N.Y. Giants and Eli Manning because Eli’s offensive line is virtually non-existent, and sadly, Eli moves about as well as a hippopotamus in quicksand. You know that AIN’T the case with Russell Wilson. He is as elusive as Rihanna in the “Work” video. And then there’s Pete Carroll. Since taking over in Seattle, he has NEVER, EVER started a season 0-3. Close this masterpiece with the Steelers, and go from -1 to +9 points over the Bucs.

Why? The Steel Men have been TREEmendous on the road, winning 11 of the last 12.

And PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, ’cause ya never know when we’ll find another gem on the baseball diamond.

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.

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