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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NBA, NHL & MLB

Adam Pelech #3 of the New York Islanders wraps around the net as Brett Howden #21 of the New York Rangers.

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 —  Before we get to the hardwood in Orlando, here’s a VERY DEPRESSING look at what happened in Vegas/Nevada last month. This is a list of the Nevada casinos’ net winnings in June from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Note the last spot in the list, which is a HISTORIC NEGATIVE dollar figure.

Penny slots: $174.7 million

Blackjack: $54.5 million

Baccarat: $47.5 million

Craps: $19.9 million

Roulette: $16.5 million

Sports: -$483,000

The streak is OVER! DONE! KAPUT! For the first time in 83 months, that’s EIGHTY-THREE MONTHS, the sportsbooks in Nevada were LOSERS – the first time since July 2013 that they have not shown a profit. They dropped $483,000 and if you think that ain’t a big deal, check out these numbers. In June of 2018, the sportsbooks posted $20.1 million in revenue and in June 2019, it was $16.5 million. OUCH!!!

NBA Pick

Back to the Disney bubble, and we would suggest that you SCOUR the injury lists for all of today’s games before dropping any cash. We would also suggest that you slice your wagers in half, maybe even two-thirds, in the first few games, just to gauge the temperature of each team. With NO home-court edge (Orlando has home-city edge), who is and who isn’t on the floor will be THE most important factor when you handicap the board. Looking at the Spurs vs the Kings, and if you’re not updated, San Antonio’s BEST player, SEVEN-time all-star LaMarcus Aldridge, is OUT.

PG Dejounte Murray will also miss. On the other bench, Sacramento should have Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes back in the rotation. And with the talent already on the floor, including De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, Sac-Town looks like the side. Gregg Popovich has a YUGMUNGOUS coaching edge over Luke Walton, but Bill’s kid has more weapons at his disposal. KING me, baby!!!

MLB Pick

On the baseball board, we’re gonna roll out to Chicago and grab the Cubs with Tyler Chatwood over the Pirates.

Like the way Chatwood jumped out in his first outing of the restart, throwing six innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run and posting eight Ks. Gimme some of that Chicago ivy, BAABBBEEE!!! However, if the Cubbies change to Darvish, still a go, but slice the wager in half.

NHL Pick

Skating on to the ice in Toronto and gonna go real slow because NO ONE is quite sure how teams are gonna react after missing so much time. One thing we do know is Islanders coach Barry Trotz is an UNDER guy. The total on the Isles/Panthers game tomorrow is 5.5, and we’re gonna rock the UNDER. Florida and New York have skated against each other three times, and ALL THREE have gone UNDER. Before everyone was sent home, the Islanders went UNDER 36 times and OVER 27. Lace ’em up and go LOW with me!!!

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.