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 — FINALLY found out the way to a successful gambling career. SHUT THE HELL UP! Don’t brag about your Sportsbooks, ’cause when you do, invariably, you’ll get a pick-ax on the left side of your brain.
So right to the board, and we’ll throw down a baseball pick tonight, and grab the Nationals with Max Scherzer over the Braves. Mad Max missed almost a month from the end of July to late August, and he has had four starts since coming back. The first three starts were OK, nothing special. Then the last time out, Max dominated, allowing only two hits through six innings while posting nine Ks. Guess who that was against? The Braves. Guess who the Nats are playing tonight? Yup, you’re WAY ahead of me ... the Braves. Washington to the Max!
On the college football board tonight, nothing really jumps, and I ain’t gonna go crazy, but Washington State -9 points over Houston seems like the side. Not thrilled about laying a nine spot on the road, but Mike Leach has this offense humming. They have outscored two cupcakes, New Mexico State and Northern Colorado, 117-24, and with his Air Raid offense, the numbers should be crazy in Houston as well.
Dana Holgorsen, the Cougars’ first-year coach, played for and coached under Leach, so he should know the ropes. However, the visiting Cougars from Washington pitched a 5-0 spread PERFECTO on the road last season. Like the teacher over the student, but keeping it light, real light.
Tomorrow, put me down for Iowa State +2 points against Iowa.
And what would a weekend be without a three-team, 10-point teaser. Gonna mix and match, starting in Lincoln tomorrow, and drop Nebraska from -14 to -4 points against Northern Illinois. Move right to Sunday, and take the Titans from -3 to +7 points against the Colts, then close with Houston and drop the Texans from -9 to +1 point over the Jaguars.
Speaking of Sunday, NO ONE was happier than me and my wallet last week when Baltimore, my BEST BET, rumbled to a 59-10 victory over Miami. So, of course, Baltimore is gonna win the Super Bowl. Lamar Jackson is gonna rock the MVP.
HOLD ON, PEOPLE. They played the FREAKIN’ DOLPHINS! And it was ONLY Week 1. Was listening to a Sportsbook talk, and he was speculating that if this was the Sportsbook week, Baltimore would be like a 7.5- or 8-point favorite. And the line is now 13.5! VALUE! Can totally see the Ravens jumping out big, but these kids (Kyler Murray) and adults (Larry Fitzgerald) from Arizona will keep fighting, just like last week.
The Cards limped into the locker at half, down 17-3 to Detroit, then managed to squeeze out a 27-27 knot. Murray took three quarters to get up to NFL speed, and in the fourth, he was 15 of 19 for 154 yards. And since the Ravens have covered only one of the last seven as a home favorite, we’re gonna make this our 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...firstname.lastname@example.org.