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 — Some VERY sad news. After hitting a 4-0 PERFECTO last week, we pushed the record to 12-1 (92%) for the last three columns. Was able to take Mrs. Ecks & all the little Bacons to a high-end buffet here in Vegas. No $2.99 surf & turf for my crew. But the Mrs. reminded me that once I hit my goal of 90 percent Sportsbooks, it’s time to hang up the wallet. So, this will be it for me, kids. Ciao, baby.
Gonna hoop it up tonight on the college board, and throw down a two-team, 6-point teaser. Take Iona from -12 down to -6 against Stetson, and YES, they are the HATTERS! Then go west and bump Temple up from +10 to +16 points against USC.
On Saturday’s college football slate, kick it with SMU +3.5 over Navy. Most teams have NO idea how to play the triple option that the Midshipmen use so successfully, but the Mustangs do. They beat Navy last year 31-30, covering as a 6-point underdog.
Last season was the first at SMU for head coach Sonny Dykes, and 5-7 is not exactly what he wanted. In his second year, the Ponies from Texas have compiled a gorgeous 9-1 overall record, 5-1 in the AAC. And the record has been built on the arm of QB Shane Buechele. The transfer from the Longhorns is tied for the AAC lead with 28 TDs and his 3,195 passing yards make him the top dog in the league.
But Shane ain’t the only jewel on this team. They also have an RB, Xavier Jones, who has 18 rushing TDs and has gobbled up 1,063 rushing yards already. And how about WR James Proche, who LEADS the NATION with 8.8 grabs per game. Navy is never easy, but the Mustangs have TOO much firepower and should ride back to Dallas with an easy cover, maybe even a straight-up moneyline W.
Also gonna throw some love and some cash at Lovie Smith and Illinois +16 points against Iowa.
Then we put on the gloves and step inside the ring for the Deontay Wilder/Luis Ortiz fight. Deontay, or the Bronze Bomber, is a YUGE favorite at -700, and we’re not gonna mess with that noise. However, we will take a round prop, and throw down some green on Wilder to win in the first round at 16-to-1.
Roll over to the NFL and grab the Lions -3 points over the Redskins. Part of my best-bet Sportsbook last week was making fun of Detroit QB Jeff Driskel. Well, Driskel made me sweat thru a couple of shirts before the Cowboys posted a 35-27 W.
His arm is certainly NFL-caliber and his legs are surprising. He was 27 of 46 for 269 yards against the Bears, then followed it up with 15 of 26 for 209 yards against Dallas. He juked and slid for 51 against the ’Boys and 37 vs Chicago. So, now, Double V IS a fan.
He seems hungry and, despite a 3-6-1 record, Matt Patricia has not lost the locker room yet. And if Matt P. calls his old boss, Bill Belichick, he’ll probably get some primo info on how to confuse and frustrate a rookie QB.
Not shooting any poison arrows at Dwayne Haskins, but he has more than twice as many INTs (5) as TDs (2). And those two TDs came in garbage time after Washington was in a 34-3 hole to the Jets, so no biggie. One thing left to say, and you know what it is. This IS my BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!!
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 Sportsbooks, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...email@example.com.