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Las Vegas Expert Picks: Wimbledon, MLB, World Cup

Ivan Rakitic Croatia France 2018 World Cup Final Las Vegas Expert Picks

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 — Gonna kick the soccer ball around in a second, but first, we’re gonna go green, the green grass of Wimbledon.

When Serena Williams was about to fight Julia Goerges in the semifinal, this is what we wrote.

“Would love to buy a little Serena, but still not sure that she is all the way back. If she was, I would sell my first-born son on eBay, and drop everything in my portfolio on the GREATEST woman player EVER! Yeah, that’s right, forget about Margaret Court. Yes, she has won 24 majors to Serena’s 23, but 11 of those came down in Australia when NOBODY wanted to go and the competition was, how do you say, NON-EXISTENT.”

So, after Serena smoked Julia in two sets, it looks like she IS all the way back. However, her opponent in the final, Angelique Kerber, is WAY more talented than Goerges. Still thinking Serena, but would keep the play on the light side.

MLB Pick

Little baseball tonight, and the question is, will the Red Sox EVER lose again? Boston has ripped off 10 straight wins, and as long as the BoSox continue to face teams like the Royals (26-66), Rangers (40-54) and Blue Jays (42-50), the streak will live on. Actually, with games coming up against the Tigers (40-55), Orioles (26-68) and Twins (42-49), the streak could reach 23 before they host the Phillies on July 30. Rick Porcello gets the nod tonight, and he hasn’t lost a game in almost a month. You’re gonna pay a price, but the Sox are worth it.

World Cup Pick

Now, let’s roll to Russia and look at the World Cup final on Sunday as France fights Croatia. You look at the matchup and it’s the dazzling talent and free-flowing game the French like, against a bunch of ruffians from Zagreb. Les Bleus are ready to sizzle, while the mindset of the Vatreni can be summed up by midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who said, “I was lying in bed finding the strength to play and it was worth it,” he said after beating England. Then he added, “I would play a final without a leg if necessary.” WOW!

A few facts:

  • France is unbeaten in five previous games with Croatia (3W, 2D).
  • Excluding shootouts, France has lost just one of the last 14 knockout games at the World Cup (W11, D2).
  • And if you were wondering why we called the Croats ruffians, it’s because they have conceded more fouls (99) and received more yellow cards (14) than ANY OTHER side at the World Cup.

So, the selection, huh.

Croatia has played an extra 30 minutes three times to get to the final, and their older players looked like they were gassed in the semi win against England.

France appears to be the fresher 11, so only one thing left to say...

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!!

And PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, ’cause ya never know when we’ll find another gem on the baseball diamond.

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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