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 — Let me apologize. Coming off a 4-0 effort and was expecting three winners last week for a 7-0 run, but fell short. Hope you will forgive me. Can only pray that everyone is OK with 6-1. Not saying 86 percent is bad, but looking to take you all into the land of 90 percent winners. C’MON!!!
Kick it off on the NBA hardwood tonight, and you can leave it to the Butler. Yeah, Jimmy Butler. Or, Jimmy G. Buckets. The G stands for GETS! After an embarrassing 119-111 loss at Minnesota, Buckets called out the Heat, saying they were SOFT. That’s an OUCH! So what happens? Miami goes on to win the next three games. Make it four in a row tonight at Atlanta.
These two Southeast Division rivals have met twice this season, both times in Miami, with the Heat winning the first game 109-99 and the Hawks grabbing the second 94-80. The key this evening is Trae Young. ATL’s talented star suffered what the team has described as a left ankle sprain and was ruled out of the remainder of the game against the Knicks.
The team said Young’s X-rays on his ankle came back clean, and he’s expected to get a followup MRI. News from Atlanta is not good. Trae will NOT play tonight, and the Hawks are listing Clint Capela (back) and Danilo Gallinari (foot) as questionable. Miami is now -5 and should cover this spot with no problem.
Rays vs Blue Jays Pick
Dropping a little further down south, we’re gonna roll with Tampa Bay and Tyler Glasnow over Toronto. Steven Matz has not lost a game yet for the Blue Jays, and is pitching to a 1.47 ERA, but MAN, Glasnow puts those numbers to shame.
Matz has given up nine hits in 18 innings in his three starts while the Glass Man has allowed nine hits in 24 innings in his four starts. Tyler G has put 36 Ks on the board, yeah, THIRTY-SIX, and is holding down a MINUSCULE 0.73 ERA. Any time you see a ZERO as the first number of the ERA, it’s BUY TIME, BAABBBEEE!!!
Mets vs Nationals Pick
Speaking of strong arms, Marcus Stroman is off to a phenomenal start for the Mets after opting out in 2020. Stroman has started three times, is a perfect 3-0 and has allowed only two earned runs over 20 innings. That’s a 0.93 ERA, and I’m sure you remember what we said when there is a ZERO as the first number. And to make life a little easier, Washington’s best player, Juan Soto, is out.
And to make life even EASIER, check out these numbers for Nats starter Joe Ross. After throwing bagels in his first two starts, he was DESTROYED by St. Louis on Monday, allowing 10 earned runs, yeah, TEN EARNED, and eight hits in only four innings of work. OUCH! So, his ERA went from 0.00 to 5.87 in a matter of minutes. Which makes sense because Ross has not had an ERA below 5.00 since 2016. New York, New York is the way to play today.
And if you’re looking for winners during the week, we got ’em on Instagram. I will be doing quick 15-second picks every day 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...Ben@Americasline.Com.