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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NHL & NBA Playoffs, MLB

Singer Drake (L) and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors both react during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Orlando Magic at Scotiabank Arena on April 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.

NHL Pick

Las Vegas - Well rested or battle tested? The Islanders are VERY well rested after sweeping the Penguins out of the playoffs. They have not played since April 16, which makes it a 10 day layoff. Sharp or rusty? Good question Eck, thx for asking. The Hurricanes come to the Island on the wings of a massive emotional series after knocking out the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals. And that included a double OT clincher in game seven.

Totally love the 'Canes head coach, Rod Brind'Amour, but even the fiery RB'A is gonna have trouble getting his guys jacked up for the Isles on such short notice. And how about the job Barry Trotz has done with the New Yorkers. He comes over from Washington after winning the Cup, takes a team that lost their best player, John Tavares, was 35-37-10 with 80 points last season, and turns everything upside down.

Trotz pushed ALL the right buttons and the Islanders finished up with a 48-27-7 record and posted 103 points. WOW! Guess the guy knows how to coach! New York posted a win in the season opener at Carolina, 2-1, then picked up another 2-1 W in Carolina, skated to a 4-1 win in New York, then lost the next matchup at home, 4-3. The Isles come in riding a 6-0 streak and should be able to slide game one into the win column.

NBA Picks

For your wagering pleasure, here are your spread stats of the day. Apparently, Klay Thompson didn't get to dip in the ocean up in Oakland, so if the Warriors wanna get a win and close out the Clippers in Los Angeles, Klay better get wet. GSW has covered only two of the last seven overall, so would be careful about laying 9 and a hook, or even -10.

However, they have covered nine of the last 12 on the road, nice profit, while the Clips have covered only one of the last five at home, nice hole in the wallet. Looking at the big picture, the Dubs overall spread log sits at 37-49-1, 20-23 on the road and 33-46-1 as a favorite. L.A.'s overall spread mark is 48-38-1, 23-20 at home and 19-23-1 as an underdog. If I had to, would lean light on the Clips.

Looking at the Raptors/76ers series that starts tomorrow, gotta take a wait & see because of Philly superstar Joel Embiid. We know "The Process" ain't 100%, and could go bye bye at anytime with the bum knee. However, they might have just enough "magic medicine" in the locker room to keep him on the floor for 25/30 minutes per game. That's what makes a series pick SO tough, but we do lean toward the North.

The Raptors won the first game up in Toronto, 129-112 as a -6 point favorite, with the total going Over 227.5. They won again up North 113-102 as a -6.5 point fav, with the total going Under 229. The 76ers won at home, 126-101 as a -7.5 point favorite, with the total going Over 222.5. And in the final matchup, the Raptors went to Philly and posted a 119-107 W as a +2.5 point underdog, with the total going Under 230.5. Since the Raps opened up against Orlando in the first round with a stunning loss at home, we KNOW they'll be ready to roll tomorrow.

Looking at the Bucks/Celtics series that starts Sunday, gonna take a taste of Milwaukee to win the series because they have a weapon like NO other team. Can't spell his last name, or pronounce it, so won't bother, but Giannis is gonna roar. The Bucks had a 2-1 edge during the regular season. Boston won the first game at home 117-113 as a -2.5 point favorite, and the total went Over 220.5.

Milwaukee won the next game up in Beantown, 120-107 as a -1.5 point fav, and the total went Over 223.5. In the only game at Sudstown, the Bucks squeezed out a 98-97 W as a -6 point favorite and the total went Under 227.5. Did a little research for you, and noticed that the kids from Suds City have gone Over in nine of the last 11 games, so we're totally on the Over. And also dropping some cash on the Bucks to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

MLB Pick

One baseball play tonight and it's the Blue Jays over the A's, ONLY if Mike Fiers starts for Oakland.

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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