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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Week 5, NCAAF Week 6, MLB Playoffs

Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Week 5, NCAAF Week 6, MLB Playoffs

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 — Not gonna brag about hitting 80 percent last week, four out of five. OOPS! I’ll try and do better this week.

MLB Playoffs Pick

Born and raised in the Bronx and I bleed pinstripes. So, the Yankees-Twins is a no-fly zone because my heart always triumphs over my head. However, my head says, why are the Astros SO cheap against the Rays? Get that Tampa is the Cinderella team, and the feel-good MLB story, but man, we’re talking Justin Verlander! We’re talking DOMINATION! We’re talking Cy Young! We’re talking 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 Ks! And of course, don’t ever forget his inspiration ... Kate Upton. The Rays trot out Tyler Glasnow, yeah, who? OK, he is 6-1 with a skinny 1.78 ERA, but we’re still talking VERLANDER!

And we would not mind if you tickled the Cardinals with Jack Flaherty, who has been, well, Verlander-like down the stretch. He has won seven of his last nine, and allowed only 11 earned runs over a 106-inning stretch for a gorgeous 0.93 ERA. And oh yeah, in those 106 innings, he posted the letter K 130 times! Since St. Loo won last night, we’ll keep it real light.


On the college football board tomorrow, you have a delicious matchup between two teams, Maryland and Rutgers, that were outscored last week by a combined total of 111-0. For real, ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN to ZERO! And the Terps are a 13-point favorite. What? OK, I’m buying. Why? Because the Scarlet Knights have been outscored 82-0 in Big Ten play this year!

And in the top-10 SEC battle, we’re gonna roll with Auburn over Florida. You got 5-0 vs 5-0. And the visiting 5-0 Tigers are the favorite. Why? ’Cause they’re gonna win.

NFL Picks

On to Sunday, and we’re all over the Cowboys -3.5 points over the Packers. After hitting four straight best bets, this is the first week that I’m not on or against Baltimore. Why? Because the Ravens have looked awful the last two games, and I’m not totally sold on Pittsburgh’s new QB, Mason Rudolph. Speaking of awful, Dallas was not only awful but ugly in a lackluster 12-10 loss at New Orleans last week. So why the ’Boys? A bunch of reasons, but most important is the running game. Ezekiel Elliott is now done with his preseason after four games, and should be ready to rumble, BIG TIME.

Why? Because Green Bay has been horrible against the run, allowing 176 yards to the Eagles last week, 149 to Denver in Week 3 and 198 to Minny in Week 2. The Cheeseheads also do not do well on the road, winning only two of the last 11. Dallas has been exceptional at home, on a 7-0 run and posting 10 wins in the last 11 at Jerry World. And that’s why this is my BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!!

Also looking at the Titans -3 points over the Bills. This game almost made it into the rarefied air of the best bet territory. But without a handle on the Josh Allen injury (concussion), we cannot make it a BESTIE. However, just like we did last week, when we asked you to pump Buffalo up to best bet status if Dont’a Hightower was out (he was, and it was a winner), please do the same here. If Allen does not play and Matt Barkley gets the start at QB for the Buffs, Double M, Marcus Mariota and Titans become a 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 winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...ben@americasline.com.