Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.
Ligue 1 Pick
LAS VEGAS - Biggest story in soccer this summer has been Leo Messi. Leaving Barcelona after over 20 years with the club and putting on the Paris Saint-Germain jersey has rocked the soccer world. Messi will be a part of maybe the most talented team in the world, playing with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
It looks like both Messi and Neymar will be watching from the stands this afternoon, but that will not be a problem for PSG. The Parisiens still have Julian Draxler and Mauro Icardi to slot in next to Mbappe. They play at Brest and the price will be YUGE, maybe around -$400, but this will be easy money.
Throwin' out two baseball plays tonight, starting up in Canada with the Blue Jays over the Tigers. The Jays send Robbie Ray to the hill and definitely like the way he has looked the last month (25 innings, 5 earned runs). Toronto comes back home after a long & ugly road trip, where it was only three wins in eight games. Back in Canada, it'll be a different story since the Jays have won nine of 12 since returning to Rogers Centre.
Then we swing out to Los Angeles and grab the Dodgers with Walker Buehler over the Mets. Buehler rarely takes a day off and RARELY allows more than two earned runs per outing. He is the second or third choice for the Cy Young behind Zack Wheeler and Corbin Burnes.
Not sure I understand. Someone help. Walker is 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA and a 0.938 WHIP. Wheeler is 10-7 with a 2.56 ERA and a 0.988 WHIP. Burnes is 8-4 with a 2.13 ERA and a 0.913 WHIP. If I were a betting man, oops, I am, so you can put me down for a large handful of CY bucks on Buehler right now. Also gonna drop a few more chips on a Dodger W tonight against the Mets.
Tomorrow night, the next President of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, continues his Hall of Fame boxing journey against Yordenis Ugas from Cuba. Manny was supposed to brawl with Errol Spence Jr. But on August 9, Spence was forced to pull out of the fight with a detached retina requiring immediate surgery.
So, enter Mr. Ugas. Yordenis is NOT a chump. He has held the WBA (Super) welterweight title since January 2021, and owns a sweet 26-4 record. But, with the exception of fights against Shawn Porter and Omar Figueroa, Ugas has not really been in against the cream of the crop.
Not gonna name all of Manny's opponents, but lets just say the list includes some small time fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Not gonna lay $360 to win back $100 but will take Manny by a KO at +$165ish. Why Eck? He has only two KOs in the last 11 years. So again, why Eck? Because Pacquaio's Hall of Fame trainer, Freddie Roach, thinks Ugas is goin' down, and it's gonna be a body shot that ends the night. Good enough for me, and, for my wallet!
Premier League Pick
Jumpin' across the pond for some Premier League action tomorrow and gonna drop some chips on Liverpool. Of course we're not gonna lay like $550 to win back $100 on the final result, but rather take the Reds to win the 1st half at a VERY reasonable -$175.
And if you're looking for more picks this weekend, 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 [email protected].