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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NCAAF, NFL

Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens Las Vegas Expert Picks NCAAF, NFL

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

NCAAF Picks

LAS VEGAS — Gotta jump right to the bowl action, and start with Buffalo -1 point over Troy. Give the home-state edge to Troy, which is some 144 miles from the site of the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile. But the Buffs appear to have the edge at quarterback, so that’s where I’m looking. Tyree Jackson runs the show for the Bulls, and he is special. His stats include 2,857 air yards with 27 TDs and he rumbled for 165 yards and seven TDs on the ground.

Troy lost its starting QB, Kaleb Barker, and Sawyer Smith took over in October. He led the Trojans to five wins in seven games, but it’s his last two outings that are disturbing. Against Texas State, he was only 13-for-27 for 79 yards, and in the finale against Appalachian State, he managed to hit just 17 of 33 passes for 160 yards. YUGE edge to the Buffs, and that’s where my money is.

In the other games, we like Memphis -3 points over Wake Forest in the Birmingham Bowl, Army -5 points against Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl and Hawaii -1 point over Louisiana Tech in the, yes, HAWAI’I Bowl.

NFL Picks

Start the NFL party with some Saturday action, and we’re on the Ravens +4.5 points over the Chargers. Really like what the Lightning Bolts are doing, but after a stunning comeback against the Chiefs last week, and with another division rival (Denver) on deck next week, gotta think mini-letdown. Also like what Baltimore is doing behind the multi-dimensional Lamar Jackson. Since Jackson took over as the No. 1 after the bye week, the Ravens have won four of five, with the only loss coming at Kaycee, and by ONLY three points, 27-24. Buy the hook and make it +5.

And on Sunday, gimme the Patriots -13 points over the Bills. OK, Tom Brady might have lost a few miles off his fastball, but this is still New England and this is still Buffalo. Just when things seem like the Patriots are gonna fall off a cliff, Double B and the staff come up with some magic. Did some research and found some very interesting numbers that favor the Pats. Coming off two straight losses, they have been MONEY in the bank. Earlier this season, the Brady Bunch lost to the Jaguars and Lions, both road games, then came back home and squashed the Dolphins 38-7. Easy cover. Scroll back to 2015, and after losing to the Broncos and Eagles, they rocked the Texans the following week 27-6. In 2012, they came up short against the Cards and Ravens, then bombed the Bills 52-28. Back to 2011, and they roughed up the Jets 37-16 after two straight losses. Four spots, four wins, four covers. This is No. 5, one for the thumb, and yeah, this is my BEST BET, BABY!

And plz, PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops on the college hoop board.

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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