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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NFL Wild Card Weekend

Russell Wilson Seahawks Cowboys NFL Las Vegas Expert Betting Picks 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 — Ready to go WILD? Oh yeah baby. Actually, before we go wild, PLZ note that we’ll have a special Ecks & Bacon on Monday with all the goodies on the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Colts vs Texans Pick

Back to wild. We’ll start in Houston and buy the Colts +2 points over the Texans. So, if Indy was able to rock the party down in Houston on December 9, beating the Texans 24-21, why not another road win. Along with the Bears, no team is hotter coming in than the Colts. They have won nine of the last 10, and the winner-take-all W last Sunday night against Tennessee, 33-17, was very impressive.

Back to the win AT Houston. Andrew Luck LIT up the Texans secondary, hitting 27 of 41 for 399 yards. And it was due to his AMAZING protection. The Horseshoes were the ONLY team to allow fewer than 20 sacks during the regular season, the best in the league. On the other side of the field, Houston was the ONLY team to allow more than 60 sacks. Yup, SIXTY SACKS! Then we looked at the Texans’ work after coming back from the bye week, with wins over the Jaguars, Washington, the New York Jets, Browns and the Titans, and my reaction was, so what. Just like last week, feeling (Andrew) LUCKy and will buy the dog.

Seahawks vs Cowboys Pick

Move to Dallas, where we’re on the Seahawks +2 points over the Cowboys. All the early money is on Seattle, including mine. Why? Got some amazing spread stats to back it up. Since Pete Carroll took over, the Seahawks are pure PERFECTION. They own a 6-0 straight-up record in their opening-round playoff games, 4-2 against the spread. And the experience factor at the most important position, QB, is heavy in Seattle’s direction. Russell Wilson has stepped into the fire 12 times, while Dak Prescott has just one postseason outing.

More spread stats? Sure. Don’t know what it is about Carroll and the NFC East, but the Seahawks have covered 10 of the last 12. And if you’re wondering, why not the Cowboys as a tiny home favorite, here’s why. In games that Dallas was favored at home by 3 points or less, the ’Boys have covered only five of the last 17. And if you’re wondering about Seattle’s last two trips to Jerry World, it was win (21-12) as a 4.5-point dog, and win (13-12) as a 4-point fav. ’Hawks fly.

Chargers at Ravens Pick

On Sunday, we ride to Baltimore and will grab the Ravens -2.5 points over the Chargers. Congrats to L.A. Chargers QB Philip Rivers on a fabulous season, and expecting his ninth kid. Gotta be a little tired, right? In any case, he AIN’T the most mobile QB out there. Baltimore might have had trouble with Baker Mayfield’s legs in the season finale, but the last time these teams met, IN Los Angeles, it was the Ravens in a breeze, 22-10. Rivers was not at his best, completing just 23 of 37 for only 181 yards, NO TDs and 2 INTs. Oh yeah, and FOUR SACKS. Speaking of mobility, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson is right up at the top. The only thing that prevents me from best-betting this is Jackson’s lack of playoff experience.

And now for a couple of perfectos. The Ravens are 5-0 straight up and against the spread under John Harbaugh in the wild-card round. They come in on a 5-0 spread roll against the AFC West. And while not quite a perfecto, they have covered seven of the last eight postseason games. You know what, just talked myself into a BEST BET BABY!!!

Eagles at Bears Pick

Close up shop on Sunday night with the Bears -6 points over the Eagles. YUGE props to the Philly Green and Nicky Foles for getting back to the tournament, but, now, gotta roll with the other side. Here’s what I got. Yes, Foles has been AMAZING the last few games, but my real worry is, what if he goes down. His ribs are one good Khalil Mack hit from breaking into little pieces. And is anybody, ANYBODY OK with Nate Sudfeld? I’m NOT!

If you don’t think that Chicago has paid attention to all the “nobody wants to play the Eagles” chatter that has been in the media all week, think again. The Bears WANNA play the Eagles. The Bears wanna devour the Eagles. They’ll play anyone. They have won AND COVERED nine of the last 10, and my wallet says that it’s tough to buck 90 percent. Calling for Da Bears to roll into the next round, and would not mind if you threw them in a sweet little three-team 10-point teaser. Take Chicago from -6 to +4, Indy from +2 to +12, and Seattle from +2 to +12

And plz, PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops on the college hoop board.

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.

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