Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.
NHL: New York vs Tampa Bay Pick
LAS VEGAS — Game SEVEN, BAABBBEEE!!!
No matter what sport, it’s the cat’s pajamas. Which, as you all know, is a highly admired or exceptionally excellent person or thing, according to Merriam-Webster. And for those of you with a green thumb, you probably already know that Cat’s Pajamas is a plant, and was voted 2021 Perennial of the Year. But back to the ice.
Of course, we did our requisite research and found out that Tampa Bay has played in eight Game 7s and won five. The New Yorkers have played in nine Game 7s and won just four. The big question mark in this game is Lightning superstar Nikita Kucherov, who left after one shift and a wicked cross-check in Game 6.
Kucherov is the leading scorer in the playoffs with 27 points. But he missed the entire regular season while recovering from hip surgery, so it’s not like the Lightning have not been down this road before if he should miss the game.
My heart is with New York but my wallet is screaming Tampa Bay. Lightning will not strike eight times like in Game 5, but the defending Stanley Cup champions will get to defend their Stanley Cup and move into the Finals for the second straight season.
MLB: Baltimore vs Toronto Pick
The Orioles are letting Matt Harvey take the mound for another start, and to say his numbers are UGLIFIED would not be totally accurate. It’s gone WAY beyond uglified. Gotta come up with a new word. Open to all suggestions.
For those who have not been on the MONEY TRAIN playing against Harvey, here are some numbers. No wins since May 1 (0-8), and in the last eight starts, he has been SCORCHED for 54 hits and 40 earned runs in just 27 innings of work. YIKES! That’s TWO hits per inning and a GINORMOUS 13.33 ERA. Flying with the Blue Jays no matter what the price, and yup, you can BOOK IT!!!
NBA: Atlanta vs Milwaukee Pick
On the NBA hardwood, gotta believe that the Bucks will bounce back with a win tonight, but not thrilled about laying 8 points. So if you don’t mind a large price, we’re gonna play Milwaukee on the moneyline.
Euro 2020: Italy vs Austria Pick
Step over to London and follow me to the bank of ECK where Italy will knock Austria out of Euro 2020. The Italians have won 11 in a row, and have not lost a game in the last THIRTY outings. One of the main reasons is phenomenal young goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma. Only 22 years old, Gigio has NOT allowed a goal yet in Euro 2020 and has recorded EIGHT straight bagels for the national team. AZZURRI for the money, BAABBEEE!!!
And if you’re looking for winners over the weekend, hoops, ice, baseball, Euro 2020, PLZ hit me on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15-second picks at www.instagram.com/vegasvigorish!
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...firstname.lastname@example.org.