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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Week 11, NCAAF Week 12, NCAAB

Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Week 11, NCAAF Week 12, NCAAB

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 — Apologies. After a 5-0 column two weeks ago, I promised 4-0 last week, and came up short. SORRY! Only hit three of four, putting the last two weeks at 8-1 (89%). I’ll try to do better this week.


Gonna hoop it up tonight, on the college board, and grab Missouri State +13.5 points over Xavier. And of course, if you can, buy the hook to +14. The X-Men are 3-0 and pretty solid, but after coming off a tough battle against Missouri, the Musketeers might just take a breath against Mizzou State. The Bears from Springfield have not lost by more than 12 points in their last eight road games, and the way Dana Ford’s team plays D, they should keep this final margin under a dozen.


From hardwood to grass, or artificial turf, and we’re gonna look at Baylor +10.5 points over Oklahoma. And the reason boils down to two words, Matt Ruhle. After guiding Temple to a pair of 10-win seasons, Ruhle left for Baylor, inheriting a disaster. His first year was an UGLY 1-11, then 7-6 last season, and now 9-0 with the Okies coming to town. Ruhle and the Bears were on the wrong end, the EMBARRASSING end of a 66-33 blowout at Norman last year, and revenge is certainly on the menu. Of course it can be said that Baylor’s 9-0 has a CUPCAKERY feel, but the Sooners have struggled with the top teams in the Big 12.

They beat Texas only 34-27 but didn’t cover, lost to Kansas State 48-41, and just squeezed past Iowa State 42-41 as a 14.5-point favorite. Sure, Jalen Hurts is putting up some fabulous numbers for Oklahoma, but if you have not heard, Baylor’s QB, Charlie Brewer, can play a little. The Brewmaster has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,338 yards and 16 TDs. He’s also third on the team in rushing and paces the Bears with seven rushing scores. I’m WACKO for the kids from WACO!

Also thinking about a few pennies on Indiana +14.5 points against Penn State. The Nittany Lions looked just MEH against Minnesota last week, and have Ohio State on deck next week. The Hoosiers covered a 14-point spread last year in a 33-28 loss at home, and no one is talking about the 7-2 record they bring to Happy Valley. Buying Indy!

NFL Pick

On to Sunday, and we’re looking at the Cowboys -6 points over the Lions. Why? Cupcakery & Jeff Driskel. First we bring you Cupcakery, which is a word that I’m trying to copyright. Not sure what happened when Dallas played the Jets and lost 24-22, but the ’Boys have dominated against the rest of the NFL cupcakes. It was 35-17 and 37-18 in two wins against the Giants, 31-21 over Washington and 31-6 against Miami.

And Detroit has had major problems against the cream of the NFL crop, winning just two of the last 11 straight up against teams with winning records, and covering only three of those. Now for Driskel. He was not horrible last week against the Bears (27/46 for 269 yards), but the BIGGEST concern is, he was the Lions’ LEADING rusher. UH-OH! And since Dallas has won nine of the last 12 off a loss, yes, this IS my BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!! And would push all my chips in and go as high as -7.

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.