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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NHL & NBA Playoffs, MLB, Game of Thrones

D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts in the second half against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on April 06, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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 — Step into the collective brain of the Tampa Bay Lightning with me. You just completed one of the EPIC seasons in NHL history. You won the Presidents’ Trophy, posted 128 points, lit the lamp 325 times, with a preposterous goal differential of +103. Yeah, PLUS-ONE HUNDRED THREE! You secured the No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs. You are playing the No. 8 seed. You played the Blue Jackets three times. You destroyed the Jackets in Florida twice, 8-2 and 4-0. You whipped ’em in Ohio 5-1. You outscored Columbus 17-3. Yeah, SEVENTEEN to THREE! Sorry for screaming.

Then you open up the playoffs with a 3-0 rout in the first period. Then, you GO TO SLEEP! What? Yeah, the Lightning left the building after the first period, and allowed the Jackets to storm back and roll to a 4-3 win. Ouch! That AIN’T gonna happen tonight. You’re gonna have to pay a high price, and as Lou Christie said in his famous song way back in 1965, “Lightning is striking again.” We’ll just tweak the lyrics, and say, the Lightning will strike again and again and again and again!

NBA Pick

Gotta look at some of the NBA playoff series on tap, and will start with the Thunder over the Blazers. There is no question that OKC is the better team here, swept the season series against Portland 4-0, and will move on to the next round with no trouble. That’s the reason why the Thunder are the only team without home-court advantage that is favored to win. Also might take a small flyer on the Nets at +600 over the 76ers. No doubt that Philly is the better team, when healthy, but with Joel Embiid nursing a sore knee, we might see Brooklyn sneak out of this series on top.

MLB Pick

And if you’re looking for some action on the baseball diamond, we’re gonna roll down south and grab the Braves over the Mets.

Game of Thrones Pick

Everyone has a take on the Game of Thrones. Here’s mine, and I’m gonna make you money. So, who is gonna rule Westeros when the screen goes dark? Most of the other oddsmakers have Bran Stark as the favorite, followed by Jon Snow. NAH. You wanna really get all your nerd GOT friends in a tizzy? Check out this Ecks & Bacon prophecy. Bran is a THREE EYED RAVEN and they don’t rule anything, they’re just weird. My man Snow is gonna go back to the Night’s Watch and help rebuild the wall.

So who, Eck? OK, got a call from one of my people at Dragonstone, can’t reveal the name, and they told me that Daenerys Targaryen is pregnant with a little Jon Snow, or Jane Snow. They have not picked out a name yet, but this IS the kid that is gonna crawl up onto the Iron Throne!!! And if you act now, you can get odds of +1500 on the Snow/Danny bundle of joy.

PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops in the NBA or NHL.

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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