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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NCAAF, NFL

Matt Ryan airs one out

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 - Shopping. Just like my wife, I LOVE to shop. While she's out at Neiman Marcus and trying to score a scarf from Hermes, I'm sitting in front of the screen shopping for numbers. Last week was a perfect example. Gave out Purdue on Friday at -3 and by Saturday morning, the line was down to -1. Did not buy both sides, which woulda been a sweet middle, but when the Boilermakers closed out a 38-36 victory, my phone account jumped a few bucks. If you must know, the wife never connected with a Hermes scarf, praise the Lord. They start at like $400 bones, and maybe if I did hit the middle, she woulda been wrapping her neck in a little Hermes.


Kicking it off with with a little college action, gonna take a look at the Big Ten and try Northwestern +11 points over Iowa. The Hawkeyes come in at 6-3, but off losses to Penn State and Purdue. Before that, wins over Minnesota (4-5), Indiana (4-5) and Maryland (5-4) were like, SO WHAT. The Wildcats played Notre Dame pretty tough last week before coming up on the short end of a 31-21 score. Nothing to be embarrassed about when you're fighting the #3 team in the country. And if you wanna know the main reason we're on Northwestern, it's this stat. Pat Fitzgerald's kids have an AMAZING, MONEY-MAKING 12-2-1 record against the spread within the conference the past two years. Bank it baby!

NFL Pick

On Sunday, gonna grab the Falcons -5 points over the Browns. Looks like the line is rising, so try and pound it before if gets too high. It opened Atlanta -4, moved to -5, and we're even seeing some -6 starting to pop up. Thought this number was WAY low when it opened on Sunday night. We have the Falcons at least 9 points better in our power ratings, and now they are on a roll.

They have won three in a row and Matty Ice is starting to heat up at just the right time. He was 26 of 38 for 350 yards last week, with 4 TDs. And he has more toys than almost anyone in the league. Julio Jones caught 7, Calvin Ridley 6, Tevin Coleman 5 and Mohamed Sanu 4. Coleman (88 yards) and Ito Smith (60 yards), gobbled up 148 on the ground, so we're talking BALANCE. After a tough 1-4 start, the Southern Birds are still in the wild card conversation, and taking advantage of the lousy teams is a must. And they WILL! Only one thing left to say. Yup, this is my BEST BET BABY!!! 

And since I have your attention, how about a little 10-point three team teaser. Take the Titans from +7 to +17 points against the Patriots, then drop the Packers from -9.5 to +.5 point over the Dolphins. Close it out with the Colts and take Indy from -3 to +7 points against the Jaguars.

And plz, PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorsih, just in case anything else pops.

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.