Our Vegas Insider addresses why he likes the Raiders to cover in Las Vegas Expert Picks.

Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Wild Card Weekend

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 — So, here’s a little Ecks & Bacon wisdom. OK, I call it wisdom, you might have another word or two.

Looking at all six NFL games on this extended weekend and NOT gonna take a position on all of ’em. Quality over quantity. Just like last week’s column, when we had only two selections and ran away with a sweet 2-0 bank job.

Back in the day, we used to rate our selections for the New York Daily News with helmets. Four helmets would be a BEST BET, three helmets a strong/medium play, two helmets a light play, and one helmet probably a stay-away. 

Saturday Picks

Tomorrow, it’s the Raiders, and not just because we’re living in the shadow of the Strip. I just like the way the Silver & Black closed the season, and like the way they perform in tight games. Check out their last four. Beat Cleveland 16-14, beat Denver 17-13, beat Indy 23-20 and beat the Chargers 35-32. So tight does not faze Derek Carr.

Seeing the number at Cincy -5.5 at most sportsbooks, I would recommend Vegas, and also recommend you buy the hook up to +6. If you can get the 6, strap three helmets onto this pick. If not, downgrade to a two.

In the late game, just glad we are not in Buffalo, but happy to throw some chips at the Bills. These AFC East rivals split two games this season, with the Patriots winning 14-10 in Buffalo and the Bills posting a 33-21 win at New England. Looking at the “What have you done for me lately?” category, the Buffs are WAY better. They have won their last four, and covered three with one push.

The Pats have lost three of the last four with the only win coming against a PATHETIC Jacksonville team. The Bills have allowed ONLY 289 points this season, and NO other team has allowed less than 300. NONE! That’s why the Buffs have the NUMBER ONE D in the NFL, and that’s why you can drop three helmets and CIRCLE the wagons!

Sunday Pick

On Sunday, we’re gonna kick it off with Tampa vs Philadelphia. Well, guess it’s over. Rob Ninkovich says that the Eagles DON’T HAVE A CHANCE against the Bucs on Sunday. Just for clarification, Ninkovich played with Tom Brady and won two Super Bowls with TB12. BIAS? Just asking.

If you looked at the last game for each team, maybe NINK was right and it IS over. Tampa blasted the Panthers 41-17, while Philadelphia was mauled by the Cowboys 51-26. Of course, Carolina sucks, and you probably know that the Igles did NOT play QB Jalen Hurts. Also didn’t play T Lane Johnson and C Jason Kelce (actually took one snap, then left), who were BOTH selected to the ALL-PRO team!

And if you look at the regular-season game when the Bucs won 28-22 in Philly, TB12 was magnificent, hitting on 34 of 42 for 297 yards and two TDs. And yet the Bucs won by ONLY six points. Brady connected with Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin for a total of 14 catches and 136 yards. NEITHER one will play Sunday!

Of course, we suggest that you buy the hook from +8.5 to +9. Now that you have everything you need, take FOUR HELMETS off the shelf, and call this one my BEST BET, BAABBBEEE!!!

As for the two other Sunday games, not gonna hit the betting apps on my phone. Totally flummoxed by the Cowboys-49ers matchup and don’t wanna lay 12.5 with Kaycee in a game that could come down to a backdoor cover. Have not looked at the Monday game yet, so PLZ, hit me on Instagram. I’ll be doing my quick 30-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 protected].