Las Vegas Expert Football Betting Picks

Benjamin Eckstein
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 - When I first started out in the fabulous, glorious, amazing world of sports wagering, we were all pretty much afraid to come out of our room. I was born and raised in New York City, but had to move to Vegas to continue my work, where it was, and IS LEGAL to bet sports.

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 - When I first started out in the fabulous, glorious, amazing world of sports wagering, we were all pretty much afraid to come out of our room. I was born and raised in New York City, but had to move to Vegas to continue my work, where it was, and IS LEGAL to bet sports. Then the congressional knuckleheads passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, in 1992, which outlawed sports betting around the country except in my new home town (Oregon, Delaware and Montana had sports lotteries, but they don’t count).

Now, instead of people like Ralphie Numbers, Tony Two Toes and Paulie Pizza, the American Sports Betting Coalition advisory council has guys like Tim Murphy, former Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, J.B. Van Hollen, former U.S. Attorney and State Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin, and Ed Davis, former Boston Police Commissioner. You impressed? I AM!!!

Here we go yo, and got the Vikings -2 points over the Rams in our best bet window. Everyone is gaga, not Lady Gaga, just plain gaga, over Los Angeles QB Jared Goff. And why not. After a horrible rookie campaign when the Rams went 4-12, Goff has led them to a gorgeous 7-2 record. Bravo. The turnaround is HUGE, and certainly deserves all the glowing ink that Goff is getting. But, as usual, we dig deeper. Take the last three games where L.A. absolutely destroyed the opposition by scores of 33-7, 51-17 and 33-0. Now, check out the teams on the short end of those scores.

The 33-7 came against the 3-6 Texans, who were WITHOUT Deshaun Watson. The 51-17 came against the 1-8 NY Giants, who are WITHOUT a clue. And the 33-0 bagel came against the 4-5 Cardinals, who lost Carson Palmer in the 2nd quarter. You feel me? Minny has won five in a row straight up, and is, WITHOUT a doubt, the BIGGEST MONEY MAKER against the spread at home, covering 17 of the last 22. Only one thing left to say. This IS MY BEST BET BABY!

Hitting at 80% in my college best bets after Texas A&M (-18 over New Mexico) destroyed the Lobos, 55-14 last week. Looking to push the record to 9-2, we’re rocking Rutgers +11 points over Indiana. Woulda accepted the Hoosiers as a double digit favorite if it was the BASKETBALL team, and Bobby Knight was coaching, but in football, NAH. Indiana beat Illinois last week, 24-14, and the Illini are horrible. They also beat Georgia Southern back in September, and Southern is only OH and NINE! The Scarlet Knights come rolling into Bloomington on a 5-0 spread perfecto, and should have no problem keeping the final margin under double digits.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Finished a spectacular family reunion weekend in Palm Springs, but do have to tell you about the hotel. Not gonna mention the name, you’ll have to email ben@americasline.com, and when you do, I’ll tell you where NOT to stay. Not gonna mention the nightly room rate, but let’s just say it falls somewhere between Motel 6 and the Four Seasons in the Maldives. I never mind paying for a nice place, a clean place and a place without any surprises. Yeah, yeah, I know, shoulda stayed at the Holiday Inn. But didn’t.

So, my place was gorgeous on the outside. Manicured grass lawns, a fabulous pool and a cool bar in the lobby. Get up to the room, and it’s a knockout. Then I moved my pillows off the headboard, which was faux leather, and it was freakin’ PEELING? Took pictures. I’ll send ’em if you want. Wake up Sunday, do my normal morning routine, and another guest was sharing the bathroom with me. A stinkin’ COCKROACH the size of my THUMB! Have pics of the little guy as well. Now, I’m putting it out to my millions of readers. Do I send the pics and a nasty letter to the management, or just let it slide? Yell.

Let’s make some money with the Falcons -3 points over the Cowboys. If I were king of the world, or Jerry Jones, Ezekiel Elliott would have served his suspension already, instead of dragging it out. But I ain’t the king, or the wannabe king, Double J. Now we have to see if Atlanta can shake off the DREADED Super Bowl HANGOVER. The Falcons were amazing last season for 18 games plus 30 minutes and change on Super Sunday. Then disaster hit harder than Thor’s hammer, and 28-3 turned into a 34-28 loss.

All the Falcs said the standard crap, like that was last season, it’s in the rear-view mirror. Apparently NOT. The first eight weeks of 2017 have been absolutely mediocre at 4-4, but it’s time to bust out. There’s TOO much talent in Atlanta, and Matt Ryan didn’t suddenly become a lousy QB. Apparently, the suspension begins Sunday, unless of course there’s some crazy emergency court hearing late Saturday night. If you see Zeke in sweats, then you can PUMP this baby up to a BEST BET!

A few weeks ago, we used a lousy Missouri team as a 13-point favorite over Connecticut as a BEST BET, and the Tigers blasted the Huskies, 52-12. Why were we so excited about the 2-5 Mizzou squad? Because it was an SEC team, even a bottom-feeder, against a team from the weak AAC. Easy pickings. Well, we found another one that looks like it fits the mold, and it’s Texas A&M -18 points over New Mexico. A&M, another SEC team, gets a weak Lobos team from a WEAK Mountain West Conference.

Last season, the kids from College Station came off a loss against Alabama and crushed New Mexico State the following week 52-10. Last week, A&M lost to Auburn, and now gets to play another team from the Land of Enchantment this week. Might not be a 42-point margin, but if New Mexico’s last two road games are any indication — 0-38 at Fresno State, and 3-42 at Wyoming — thinking Agricultural & Mechanical by at least 30.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — And the beat goes on. The sportsbooks here in Vegas and around Nevada had ANOTHER winning month, and the streak is now 50-0. Yeah, FIFTY & OH!

Was sitting at the keyboard yesterday and writing up another BEST BET winner, then BANG, it blew up. It was gonna be reserved for the Texans, but then we found out that Houston QB Deshaun Watson tore his ACL and is gonna be out for the rest of the season. That kinda stinks, but it’s time to move on, next man up, so to speak. And we’re moving on to Louisiana. Like everything New Orleans is doing this season. The 5-2 record, the improved defense and, of course, Drew Brees. However, and you know there’s always a however, the Saints are horrible against the spread as a favorite of 6 points or more.

How horrible? They have covered only one of the last 11 (nine percent). And with Tampa’s passing attack (295 yards per game) second in the NFL to the Patriots (302 ypg), gotta have a little taste of the pirate crew from Florida. Only one thing left to say. This is NOT my BEST BET, BABY! This game was third on my list, and don’t wanna press it up to best bet status.

Since there is no legit best bet, how about another selection, the Broncos +7.5 points over the Eagles. Denver is replacing Trevor Siemian with Brock Osweiler, and that’s a huge plus. Last week, Siemian was PATHETIC, hitting on only five of 14 for 56 yards with two INTs. The Broncs had FIVE turnovers in the game, and still lost by only 10. Now Osweiler gets the keys and he has had some success as a starter, with a 13-8 record. Birds roll into the bye at 8-1, but only by a fiver, 22-17.

Had a sweet blowout win with Missouri -12 points over Connecticut last week, pushing the college BB record to 7-1. Always fun when little brother beats big brother. The Air Force was part of the Army until it became a separate branch in 1947. My dad was Air Force in WWII. Enough history. Well, actually, here’s some more recent history that might plump up your wallet. Army’s last four wins have come against UTEP (0-8), Rice (1-7), Eastern Michigan (2-6) and Temple (3-5). Not a winner in the bunch.

The Falcons’ last four games against Army:

The Force covered as a 1-point dog in a 31-12 win at West Point last season. They smoked the Cadets in Colorado Springs in 2015 as a 16-point favorite, 20-3. Beat the Long Grey Line in 2014 in New York 23-6 as a 3-point fav, and posted a 42-28 W at home in a pick’em game in 2013. Air Force jets in with a perfect 6-0 spread record in non-conference games the last two years, so we’ll close with the motto, “Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win.”

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Not the sharpest social media guy on the block, but there’s help on the way. A five-star hotel in the Maldives — that’s out in the Indian Ocean between Los Angeles and I have no idea where — is offering Instagram BUTLERS to help with your social media stuff. Instead of serving five-course meals or providing advice on wine pairings, the “Insta-Butlers” are knowledgeable members of staff who show guests the resort’s most photogenic spots that feature the best places to snap Insta-worthy images.

Of course, one night at the hotel starts at 950 bones. It takes over 38 hours to get to the Maldives from Vegas, you leave on Tuesday, arrive Thursday, and LOSE Wednesday. And airfare is almost $5,000, for ECONOMY! So, yo, JEEVES, I’ll take my own FREAKIN’ pictures.

Here we go, yo, and this week’s best bet is the Saints -9 points over the Bears. Before we get to the why, got a two-part trivia question. Mitchell Trubisky threw seven times and completed just four passes. In the ENTIRE GAME! Yeah, for real. And Chicago still won. WITHOUT Google, can you name the last QB to complete less than five passes and still win? And, the coach of that team? Answer later. Now the why. New Orleans’ offense with Drew Brees is always explosive, and currently ranks No. 4 at 28.5 points per game, and an average of 391 yards per game.

Looked for Chicago, and WAY down toward the bottom of the list, we found the Bears at No. 30, with 17.4 ppg and 284.9 ypg. If you’re worried about the Saints giving up 38 points to the Lions in their last home game, DON’T. The score was 45-10 and the late Detroit scores were all garbage time. OK, last guy to win with less than five passes was Tim Tebow (2/8) at Denver back in 2011. His coach? Yup, John Fox. One thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!

And just in case you were not totally convinced, the AMAZING research geeks at OddsShark tell me that New Orleans is 9-0 against the spread the last nine October games. BOOM!!!

On the college board, we’re looking at Missouri -12 points over Connecticut tomorrow. Mizzou plays in the SEC and has battled Georgia (93.70) and Auburn (90.09). Ratings come from a talented old friend, Jeff Sagarin at USA Today. UConn plays in the AAC and has battled the likes of East Carolina (53.38) and Temple (61.90). Two TOTALLY different worlds. The Tigers were so happy to escape the SEC last week that they DESTROYED Idaho, a Sun Belt team with a rating of just three points less than Connecticut, 68-21. Not saying we’re gonna see a 47-point blowout, but Mizzou by two dozen sounds about right.

And if you’re interested in OVER/UNDER totals in the NFL, grab the UNDER in the Eagles-49ers game which is sitting at 46, and should go down a few points. YUGE rainstorm headed to Philly.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Meet me in D.C. baby!!! The Supreme Court will take up the argument for legal sports betting on December 4. All oral arguments are open to the public, but seating is limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Before a session begins, two lines form on the plaza in front of the building. One is for those who wish to attend an entire argument, and the other, a three-minute line, is for those who wish to observe the court in session only briefly. The court asks that you do not hold a space in either line for others who have not yet arrived, and ABSOLUTELY NO CUTTING. Seating for the first argument begins at 9:30 a.m. and seating for the three-minute line begins at 10 a.m.

The locations for these lines are marked with signs and there is a police officer on duty to answer your questions. Ecks & Bacon will have a third line, and we will be giving out bagels & FREE picks to any Supreme Court judge who’s interested in the Monday nighter between the Steelers and Bengals. If Big Ben does not retire by then, Pittsburgh will probably open up around -3 at Cincinnati.

Congrats to @JonnyOddsShark, who is KILLING it against the spread in his column this year at 26-11. Can you believe he is ONLY the second-best Shark? For those who have not tasted the delicacies of Ecks & Bacon, lemme catch you up. So far this season, NFL best bets are 4-1-1. College best bets are 5-0. My calculator says that’s 9-1-1.

Here we go, yo, and this week’s best bet is: the Ravens +5.5 points over the Vikings. Still not sold on the Purple People from Minnesota. Yeah, sure, they threw a 23-10 wrap around the Packers last week, but that was mostly WITHOUT Aaron Rodgers, and WITH a guy named Brett Hundley. Thought Hundley was still catching for the Cubs. Oh well. And the other QB, Minny’s Case Keenum, doesn’t exactly make me warm and fuzzy.

Before the W against Green Bay, the Vikings struggled with the Bears at Chicago, squeezing out a 20-17 victory, and lost to the Lions at home 14-7. If you throw out the very strange loss to the Jaguars in LONDON, Baltimore has ripped it up on the road, IN the United States. The Ravens fed the Bengals a 20-0 bagel at Cincinnati in the opener, and stuffed the Raiders in Oakland 30-17. Expecting the Joe Flacco road show to get RAVE reviews once again, and there’s only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!

Looking to run the college best bet streak to 6-0, we’ll throw down a three-team 10-point teaser. Start with Syracuse and bump the Orange up from +17 to +27 points against Miami-Florida. Then take Texas, and pump the Longhorns up from +7 to +17 points against Oklahoma State. Close it out with USC, and take the Trojans from +3.5 to +13.5 points against Notre Dame.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Chase. It’s a YUGE banking conglomerate based in New York City. It’s the name of the Arizona D-backs’ field. It’s a cool name for a kid. And it’s also the most EGREGIOUS sin in gambling. And yes, I did look up the spelling of egregious. Back to ‘chase.’ When you lose a wager, or multiple wagers, the automatic reflex is to CHASE. And generally speaking, the outcome AIN’T good. You had a rough Sunday early in the NFL, so naturally, you’re gonna kill it in the late games. You get buried again, and the prime-time game is your get-out. Back to profitability, baby. Oops, another loser. So, of course, the Monday nighter is gonna be your savior. You double up, maybe even triple your normal bet. BAM. Yet another loser. That’s why they keep building the BILLION-dollar casinos, and most folks are pumping money into their online accounts. DON’T CHASE!!!

Not gonna find this guy chasing. Even though I lost my first best bet of the season, actually, an IDIOTIC pick, sorry, will stay with the process. Why? ’Cause 15-4-2 still is pretty sweet. And fortunately, the pain was somewhat mitigated (didn’t have to look that up) by the college picks, which, after Washington State covered against Oregon, pushed the BEST BETS to a 4-0 run.

Back to business, and we’re looking at the Texans -9.5 points over the Browns. Yeah, I know, I know. Texas lost arguably the best defensive player in the NFL last week, J.J. Watt. Yeah, yeah, I know that LB Whitney Mercilus, a second team All-Pro in 2016, is also gone for the rest of the season. So, if you recall, J.J. missed the last 13 games of the 2016 season, and Houston made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. And when Watt went down, the Texans posted a win and a cover at home the following week. But the BEST news for the banged-up Texas team is that CLEVELAND is coming to town. Yes, the pathetic Brownies that are 0-5 this season and have managed a grand total of ONE win in the last 21 games. They are also packing an 0-11 road losing streak in the suitcase. Yeah, OH and ELEVEN! No doubt that Houston will win this game, and if you don’t wanna lay nine and a hook, try the moneyline which is right around Texans -450. Only one thing left to say, and you know what. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!

Looking to run the college best bet streak to 5-0, we’ll throw down a three-team 10-point teaser. Take TCU and drop the Horned Frogs from -6 to +4 points against Kansas State. Take Texas A&M, and bump the Aggies up from +3 to +13 points against Florida. Close it out with Fresno State, and take the Bulldogs from -2 to +8 points over New Mexico.

On the baseball board, not thrilled about laying around 2/1 with the Dodgers and Kershaw tomorrow, but will.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Not gonna brag on my BEST BETS, and just get right to the action. Actually, I AM gonna brag a little in the next graph. OOPS!

So here we go, YO. Got the Raiders -2 points over the Ravens in the BEST BET window. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying, AGAIN! Eck is doubling down on the crazy. After using an 0-3 team (Cincy) as a best bet last week, now you’re stepping to the counter with a BACKUP QB. What? EJ Manuel is in for stud QB Derek Carr, and that is QUITE a drop-off, for sure. But he wasn’t terrible last week against Denver, hitting on 11 of 17 for 106 yards before throwing a game-ending INT. So, PLZ, once again, asking for you to cut me some slack.

Why? Oh yeah, my best bet record. For those on the gravy train last season, you know we posted a 12-3-1 record. Add in 3-0-1 so far this season, and 15-3-2 is the reason that I’m asking for your trust. And if you’re wondering why Baltimore QB Joe Flacco has been able to muster only 16 points, in the last TWO games, his security blanket, Pro Bowl G Marshal Yanda, is OUT for the year. Only one thing left to say, and you know what. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!

And speaking of BEST BETS, last week we used Texas Tech +10.5 points against Oklahoma State, and the Red Raiders had no trouble covering the spread in a 41-34 loss. That’s a nice little 3-0 BB run in the colleges, and tomorrow, we’re gonna rock Washington State -2 points over Oregon. The Cougars take their first road trip, after a stunning 30-27 win over USC last week. And if you think that Wash State is gonna have a letdown, UH UH. Last season, the Cougs had a YUGE win over Oregon at home, then went to Stanford the following week and CRUSHED the Cardinal, 42-16. Love Mike Leach and the “Air Raid” offense, and walking to the counter right now to drop some cash.

Trust that you are following me on Twitter, @vegasvigorish, where we collected some bitcoins when the Astros busted up the Red Sox yesterday, 8-2. Gonna switch leagues tonight, and use the Nationals over the Cubs. Stephen Strasburg has been OUT of his FREAKIN’ MIND! Lemme yell. He has given up ONLY four earned runs over the last 42 innings. Got out the old calculator and after punching in the appropriate numbers, that’s a 0.86 ERA. Generally speaking, any time we can find a pitcher with a ZERO as the first number of the ERA, it’s a buy. He has not lost a game since August 19, and posted a GORGEOUS W against the Cubs back on June 28, allowing just 4 hits over 7 innings with a 15K kicker.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Does 12-3-1 mean anything to you? That was my BEST BET record right here, in this space, in the NFL last season. Yes, TWELVE, THREE and FREAKIN’ ONE!!! Sorry, just had to throw down for all my newbies that were not on the Ecks & Bacon gravy train in 2016.

So, we started this season with a push in week one, then knocked down two more BB winners. My calculator tells me that we are now sitting at 14-3-2, which translates to 82%. You can’t blame me for SCREAMING can you? Any handicapper, or scamdicapper, that tells you they are hitting 82% is probably full of yea, that, but this is documented. And one hell of a lot of fun.

Now that I have been puffing my feathers, time to move on to the next BB, and it’s the Bengals -3 points over the Browns. Yea, yea, I know what you’re saying. Eck is going back to the crazy again. How can you possibly use an 0-3 team as a BEST BET? Well, after last week, I trust that you gimme some slack. Why? Oh yea, you remember. Gave out the Saints and said “if the Panthers have to play without All-Pro center Ryan Kalil, the only thing left to say is, this IS one of my best bets EVER BABY!! Result without Kalil: New Orleans 34-13 as a 6-point dog.

Back to Cincinnati, and the main reason for backing the Bengals is, their TOTAL DOMINATION of the Browns the last couple of years. Last season, it was Cincy winning 23-10 at Cleveland, and 31-17 at home. In 2016, it was another sweep, with the Bengals posting a 31-10 W at home, and a 37-3 beatdown at Cleveland. Go back one more year, to 2014, and Marvin Lewis’ troops fed the Brownies a 30-0 BAGEL at Cleveland. Only two things left to say. DOMINATION, and yes, this IS my BEST BET BABY!

And, oh, by the way, last week’s college BEST BET was California +17 points over USC. Today, we’re looking at Texas Tech +10.5 points against Oklahoma State. Not using it as a best bet, but still worth a trip to the counter for a winning ticket.

PLZ, hit my Twitter when you wake up tomorrow & Sunday, @vegasvigorish, for more picks over the weekend.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Not many people can post a BEST BET winner without scoring a TD. But here I am. Last week, we used the Bills at +7.5 against Carolina and the Panthers squeezed out a 9-3 W. Ugly? Hell yeah. Profitable, HELL yeah! So, for those who have just jumped on to the Ecks & Bacon train, the best bets are perfect after two weeks, with a push on the Jets in Week 1.

Looking for more perfection, gonna stay with a similar pattern and try the Saints +6 points over the Panthers.

Last week, as you know, we went against Carolina in this space, and put a best bet in the bank. Going back to the well again. And for some of the same reasons. Talked about Cam Newton post-shoulder operation, and he just does NOT look like the same guy. And now he’ll be without his security blanket, All-Pro TE Greg Olsen, who is gone with a broken foot. And if you remember my deep dive into the spread stats bible, we found out that the Panthers had covered ONLY two of the last 11 (18 percent) when favored by five points or more. Well, you can make it two of 12 (17 percent). But Carolina’s given up only six points in two games, you say. Yeah, against the 49ers and Bills, big whoop. Now they say hello to future Hall of Famer, slinging Drew Brees. And if the Panthers have to play without All-Pro center Ryan Kalil (check his status Sunday morning), the only thing left to say is, this IS one of my best bets EVER, BABY!!!  

Now, on to the college BEST BET last week, which was Duke -14 points over Baylor. Did the writeup on Friday, at -14, but as everyone who walked up to the counter knows, the line on Saturday morning dropped to -10.5. So, it turned out to be a sweet win.

Of course, you’ll need a BB for tomorrow, and I got your back. Also looking at a few more games, but not ready to fire just yet. So, PLZ, hit my Twitter when you wake up, @vegasvigorish, for more picks over the weekend.

Back to the land of BEST BETS, and we’ll rock California +17 points over USC. Justin Wilcox has just started his first year as the head coach at Berkeley and he is already 3-0, which is pretty strong considering that the Bears finished last season at 5-7. And the 3-0 mark was not against chopped liver. Well, maybe one. Cal won its opener AT North Carolina, 35-30, beat Weber State at home, 33-20, then took down an SEC foe at home, Mississippi, 27-16. Totally get that SC is top-10 material, and QB Sam Darnold will probably go No. 1 in the next NFL draft, but 17 is a bundle to lay on the road.

And if you don’t mind laying some heavy wood on the baseball board tonight, grab the D-backs with Zack Greinke over the Marlins ... sure, the price is high, but Greinke is FREAKIN’ 13-1 at home!!!

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Have I learned my lesson? NAH. So, you all know that I’ve been at this sports betting game since like 1980. Here’s what happened with the Orioles circa 1988. Baltimore was in the midst of a 14-game losing streak, and I’m like, they can’t lose that many more. So, I tell my readers to take the O’s, and if they lose, double up every day till they win. Well, they went on to lose 21 in a row, and my bank account suffered for years. However, NEVER got more publicity until my two TV shots on The Colbert Report that helped my man Stephen win the Emmy. So now, the WINdians are streaking with 22 Ws, and I’m ready to play AGAINST. And double every day till they lose. Tonight, I’ll be on the Royals with Jason Vargas as a big fat +$180 underdog. Wish me luck.

On the NFL board, gonna roll with the Bills +7.5 points against the Panthers. Buffalo’s first-year head coach, Sean McDermott, spent the last SIX years as the defensive coordinator for Carolina. Think he’s familiar? Not thinking of taking the Buffs on the moneyline, although an upset is not out of the question, but to just cover this inflated spread. Kinda like what the Buffs have on offense with Tyrod Taylor at QB and old friend RB LeSean “Shady” McCoy, who rumbled for 110 yards in the opener. Watched a bunch of Cam Newton, and while he managed the game well, he just didn’t look like the Cam pre-shoulder operation. And they were playing the 49ers, arguably one of the two most inept teams in the NFL. Then did a deep dive into the old spread stats bible and found this DELICIOUS little nugget. The Panthers have covered ONLY two of the last 11 (18%) when favored by five points or more. Just one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!!!

On the college football board, gotta have Duke -14 points over a Baylor team that does NOT HAVE A CLUE. Aside from all the off-field issues, the Bears truly SUCK on the field. Last week, they lost to UTSA, yeah, that POWERHOUSE, the University of Texas at San Antonio, 17-10. The week before, in the season opener, Baylor came up three points short in a 48-45 loss to Liberty. FREAKIN’ LIBERTY! And, AT HOME! Thought Liberty was a STATUE! The Blue Devils just CRUSHED a pretty solid Northwestern team, 41-17, and are working on a 4-0 spread PERFECTO at home. They have also outscored their first two opponents 101-24. It ain’t Coach K, but David Cutcliffe knows offense, and thinking the Dookies by at least two dozen.

And PLZ, hit my Twitter, @vegasvigorish, for more picks over the weekend.

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.

Archived Articles

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 the U.S. Open started we bought a couple of futures. My long shots were Madison Keys at 15/1 and Coco Vandeweghe at 25/1. Once they made the semifinals, it was basically guaranteed money. So, here’s my issue. Do I hedge and put a little cash on Sloane Stephens, or go for the gusto with Keys. Totally open to your thoughts. You can hit my email, ben@americasline.com, or find me on Twitter @vegasvigorish. Right now, I’m leaning to the LET IT RIDE, BABY, pushing all the chips in on Mad Keys.

Gonna slide over to the college football action tomorrow, and it’s Hawaii +23.5 points over UCLA. We all saw the Bruins’ EPIC comeback against Texas A&M, posting a 45-44 victory, but Jim Mora’s squad plays virtually NO defense.

And of course UCLA QB Josh Rosen is being hyped for the Heisman Trophy, and his odds are now 14/1. But I got another QB to tell you about. A kid that plays in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Dru Brown of Hawaii. Brown is a MACHINE. He closed last season with 9 TDs and ZERO INTs in Hawaii’s last two games, and he already has 5 TDs in his first two games this season. Granted, UMass and Western Carolina are not the caliber of UCLA, but after the Bruins’ stunning comeback last week, they’re not gonna be too serious about the Rainbow Warriors. Gonna be some GOLD at the end of this Rainbow!

On to Sunday and the big, bad NFL. Had a small play to the Chiefs last night at +9, but ready to roll out my BEST BET for Sunday. Thinking that I LOVE the number 9, so we’re gonna buy the Jets +9 points over Bills.

How LOW can you go? In my 30+ years of working the sports gambling beat, let me say something I have NEVER said. There is an NFL team that has an OVER/UNDER total of 3.5 wins for the season. And, yes, it’s the Jets. EMBARRASSING is TOO kind a word. And you know that the SHAMEFUL OVER/UNDER total has filtered back to the New York locker room, and will have the Green ready to rumble.

But Buffalo as a NINE-point favorite? REALLY. QB Tyrod Taylor is coming off a concussion, and even when his head is clear, he AIN’T much. The Jets beat the Bills twice last season, 37-31 up in Buffalo as a 1.5-point dog, and 30-10 in Jersey as a +3.5 dog. Don’t think I’ve seen the Buffs favored by this much since Jim Kelly and his crew came up short in four Super Bowls. As always, only one thing left to say, and you know what it is. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!!!  

After dropping baseball W on you last week, gonna come back with another taste, and it’s the D-backs over the Padres. Yeah, the price is high, but Patrick Corbin has won five in a row and has allowed ONLY 2 earned runs over the last 35 innings. Got out the calculator, and that translates to a 0.51 ERA. LAY the wood!

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Here’s a tiny slice in the life of a nationally syndicated handicapper. Me. Made a big play to Ohio State in my column last night, and thought the Buckeyes would crush Indiana. So, when the Hoosiers went ahead 21-20 with a few minutes left in the third quarter, you would not believe the UGLY, hateful, disturbing texts and tweets that were coming my way. You suck elephant testicles was one of the kinder posts.

One guy, no names, a pretty good friend, and one of the top golf instructors in the world, was busting my chops as well. Sarcastically calling me “swami.” Texted back at him and told him, right after the Indiana score that made it 21-20, that the final would be 47-21. Well, I AIN’T no “swami” and missed the correct final score by two points, but DAMN, that was CRAZY fun. And made the wallet a little fatter.

Got a YUGE card tomorrow, and of course, we are ready to fire. Gonna start with Wyoming +12 points over Iowa. The Cowboys play in a part of the country, and a time zone, that gets very little love, and not much national coverage. So, right now, I’m here to tell you about Wyoming’s QB, Josh Allen. If you have not heard the name, you WILL. He’ll be one of the first QBs off the board in next year’s NFL draft.

Certainly a first-round pick. Why? Allen has been tabbed as the preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year after posting 3,726 yards of total offense with 35 total touchdowns (28 pass, 7 rush). Even Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz seemed concerned when he said, “I'm still trying to figure out who scheduled that one.” Ride them Cowboys at +12 all the way to the bank. YEEEE HAAA!

Then we move to a neutral site, Arlington, Texas, for the Florida/Michigan tilt, and we’re on the Gators +5 points over the Wolverines. Love the crazy antics of Jim Harbaugh, and wanted to look his way, especially after the Gators suspended like half the team, but NAH. Gonna grab the dog. Harbaugh returns just four starters on offense, and ONLY ONE on defense. They have a ton of holes to fill, and even with Florida’s suspensions, we think the Gators have more than enough depth to not only stay close, but pull off a mini-upset.

And if you wanna throw down on Auburn -34 points over Georgia Southern, we would not mind.

Can’t forget my baseball people. Gonna buy some of the Orioles tonight with Kevin Gausman over the Blue Jays. Gausman has not been Cy Young-caliber, but he is 2-0 against the Jays this season. And this pick is really AGAINST Toronto’s Joe Biagini. He has only one win in his last eight starts, and his last three (24 hits, 15 earned runs, 14 innings, 9.64 ERA) have been PATHETIC. Gimme some Oriole love.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — So, you know that million-dollar bet that they took at the MGM here in Vegas? Well, it was NOT mine. Why would I, or anyone, throw down a cool mill to take back ONLY $182,000? The sharps and wise guys are all over Mayweather, and probably correct, thinking it’s FREE money. But what if McGregor should happen to land a bomb? What if Floyd goes down and can’t get up? Hey, it’s happened before.

There’s always Buster Douglas looming in the rear-view mirror. For you kids who don’t remember, come back in the time machine to 1990, when IRON Mike Tyson was the most FEROCIOUS man on the planet. Most of you were probably in diapers, or at least grade school, when Douglas SHOCKED the boxing world and knocked out Mike Tyson. And Douglas was a 40/1 underdog, yeah, FORTY TO ONE!

So, how do you wanna spread your money around? WWE&BD? What would Ecks & Bacon do? I’m gonna start out by taking a $20 bill and throwing it down on Mayweather to be knocked out in the first round at odds of 35/1. Lucky punch maybe. Ya NEVER know. BUSTER DOUGLAS REDUX!!!

Then, one of my favorite movies, “There Will Be Blood,” which leads to one of my favorite props, which fighter will bleed first? McGregor is -450 vs Mayweather at +275. Gonna drop a few bucks on Floyd to bleed first, thinking that Conor will hit him with a stray elbow, or head butt, that will cause a trickle. Of course, that could lead to a DQ, and McGregor losing like 90 percent of his purse, but, oops.

And along those same lines, saved my ABSOLUTE BEST BET for last. And that’s: Will there be a point deducted? The No is -240 vs Yes at +165. And we’re ALL OVER the YES!!! Money is gonna frustrate the Notorious for as long as the fight goes, and there has to be a moment where McGregor reverts to his MMA roots.

If you’re in Vegas and don’t wanna spend $6,000 to get a nosebleed seat at the T-Mobile Arena, c’mon over to my house where we have an ENTIRE FREAKIN’ WALL to watch the fight. Seriously, a 10’x12’ wall!

With all the hoopla surrounding the fight out here in Vegas, let’s not forget that we do have four college football games on tap this weekend. And Rice +31 points against Stanford is gonna be our first play. The game is on a neutral field, all the way over in Sydney, Australia, so as far as the time goes, you are on your own. Believe that it’s supposed to air on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET tomorrow, but check. I’ll be setting up for the fight as well, but after doing a little research, we found a few angles that favor the Rice Krispies.

The Owls closed last season AT Stanford, and lost 41-17, but covered the 34.5-point spread. And the Cardinal have had trouble against the spread in season openers, riding a NEGATIVE perfecto, 0-4, since 2012. Gonna take a little taste of Rice.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Gotta thank Team OddsShark for a SPECTACULAR party weekend, and signing me up for the Westgate Super Contest here in Vegas. And by the way, the $$$ MILLION $$$ is MINE!!!

We started the party at Top Golf, and the place is AAAmazing. Delicious food, superb beverages, and some REALLY talented golfers. Like the GORGEOUS gal from Brazil, who had on this skintight leopard number with like SIX-INCH STILETTO heels. Watching her hit golf balls, and then watching at least 15 guys come up to try to help her with the golf swing, was the stuff of LEGEND. Didn’t know we had SO MANY golf pros on Team OddsShark.

The party moved to the HANGOVER suite at Caesars Palace. No Mike Tyson, but they did have the facial tattoos. And again, another ENORMOUS success. A magician who was as good as Penn & Teller, a bevy of BEAUTIFUL OddsShark girls, a Foosball table, beer pong and vodka flowing through an ice sculpture. WHAT! Just one suggestion to the boys at the top of the food chain. Next year, have it at the BARE POOL over at the Mirage, and charge $50, for guys only. Ladies FREE!!! Odds are, it will be a SELLOUT!

On to some hoop action. Finally. They’re FINALLY letting us bet on Rookie of the Year in the NBA out in Vegas. Looks like EVERYONE is LOVING Lonzo Ball, and he tops the chart as a 5/2 favorite. Dennis Smith is 3/1, Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum are both sitting at 5/1, Markelle Fultz is 8/1, De’Aaron Fox is 12/1, Malik Monk is 18/1 and Josh Jackson is 20/1. Bringing up the rear, all at 30/1, you have Justin Jackson, Jonathan Isaac, Lauri Markkanen and John Collins. Kinda like Ball’s style of ball, but don’t care for his price. Thinking about dropping a few pennies on De’Aaron Fox. Also gonna hit Jonathan Isaac at 30/1. Why? Like me, born in the BRONX, BABY!!!

Gonna run down to Texas and use the Rangers over the White Sox this evening. Look at Andrew Cashner’s record and you’ll see 7-9. Ugly, right? Well, if you dig a little further, he has started to perk up, winning three of his last four and four of the last six. The Texas bats are hotter than my backyard here in Vegas, which is currently 102 degrees. The Rangers have scored 28 runs the last three games (not including last night), and they get to party against James Shields, who has managed to post only two wins in 13 outings this season. It’s expensive, but worth a little love.

Totally understand that I’m not supposed to recommend parlays, because it’s the HIGHEST percentage hold for the house, but if you wanna, grab those Rangers and plop them in a parlay with the Rockies.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — You’re starting to itch. OK, I get it. Football is coming. Don’t normally recommend any handicappers or magazines, but you GOTTA get a look at Warren Sharp’s 2017 Football Preview. Sharp asked me for a few words and here’s what I said in my nationally syndicated column, America’s Line.

“Been talking to you in print and online for three decades, and have enjoyed every minute, win or lose. Knocking ’em dead in baseball (57-27 so far this season), but being brutally honest, the NFL has given me problems forever. A few games over .500, a few games under .500, nothing exceptional, and mostly paying my guy each week.

“Until last season when one of the most INFLUENTIAL whales in the wagering world put me on to Warren Sharp. Read Sharp’s 2016 Football Preview from cover to cover, and wound up posting a 137-110-8 record picking every game in the NFL.

“And even tastier, 12-3-1 in my weekly best bets. Coincidence? Nah. It was Sharp’s amazing angles and deep dives into stats I didn’t even know existed. And when you see his records, it’s STRAIGHT UP HONEST. How do I know? I had access to Sharp’s picks every week, and his percentages tickled and exceeded the 60 percent range. As most know who have read my columns, I have NEVER recommended any handicapper.

“Most are SCAMDICAPPERS that get you to pay for recycled garbage. Sharp’s stats, amazing graphics and advanced metrics are FREAKIN’ GROUND-BREAKING. Get Sharp, stay Sharp, live Sharp. Just check out his 2017 Preview for $25 and tell me if you are not AMAZED!!!”

Not giving away my age, but in case you are coming to Vegas, the Downtown Grand Hotel is saluting and celebrating seniors (age 50-plus) in August with 65 percent off select breakfast and lunch items, FREE daily slot tournaments and FREE valet parking. Grab a $3.85 burger, a half sandwich and soup for $3.15 and steak and eggs for only $5.25. Seniors can also play in FREE slot tournaments every day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. First place is worth $250, second place $150 and third is $100.

Rained out last week on the baseball diamond, but looking to continue our baby undefeated streak and using the Orioles with Kevin Gausman over the Tigers. The O’s are lurking, just 3.5 games out of a wild-card spot. And one of the reasons is Kevin Gausman. After a rather lousy two and a half months, with a 3-7 record, Gausman found something toward the end of June, and we’re just calling it MAGIC.

He has won five of his last seven starts, with two no-decisions. But it’s his last three that jumped off the page. How about allowing only one earned run over the last 20 innings for a microscopic 0.45 ERA. And as everyone knows who follows, any time we find a ZERO as the first number of the ERA, it’s time to BUY!

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Have you been saving your pennies? Pennies, man. FREAKIN’ PENNIES!!! Forget about the glamor and glitz of baccarat, craps, roulette, blackjack and even sports betting, pennies make the casino owners dance to the bank. Check it out. In the state of Nevada, for the month of June, casinos collected $15 million and change from my people in the sports wagering space. Next up, it was $25 million from the folks that liked to spin the roulette wheel.

The craps tables provided a win of $32.5 million. The fancy schmancy people that sit at the baccarat tables donated just over $66 million to the house and the blackjack raked in $85 million. But the pennies, YES, the pennies, brought home over $255 MILLION! Save your pennies, kids, they could be worth a fortune. If you OWN a FREAKIN’ casino!!!

OddsShark does a great job with Game of Thrones odds, but you know that Ecks & Bacon has to dig a little deeper. As most of you know, the big news coming this week is the summit, the meeting, the throwdown between Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. We went out on a limb and made some odds.

Our favorite, my favorite is, they pledge to unite at 3/1. At 5/1, Jon the Snowman leaves without any type of agreement. At 10/1, what everyone wants to see, they make sweet love. Snow has a ring for Danny and they get engaged, is 50/1. And finally, they decide to pitch a new TV show, kinda the Regis and Kathie Lee of the world of Fire & Ice, with odds of 100/1.

UH OH. Don’t know if you heard, but Uncle Billy Walters, one of the ALL TIME betting legends, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in an insider-trading scheme. The judge also ordered Walters to pay a $10-million fine. “Making millions in the stock market with a deck stacked in your favor leads to time in a federal penitentiary,” Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in announcing Walters’ sentence. OUCH!!!

Get your glove and come with me to the ballpark in Washington, D.C. Two weeks, two winners. And now to complete the hat trick, I’m gonna rock the Nationals with Tanner Roark over the Rockies. Both Washington and Colorado score runs at a crazy pace, with the Nats holding down the No. 2 spot in runs scored, and the Rox at No. 4. But the Nationals have upped the ante the last two days, scoring eight and 15. Now Roark has to hold down the Rockies and if his last two starts are any indication, 13 innings, 2 earned runs, 16 Ks and a 1.38 ERA, this should turn into another W for the home team. The Nats are in the first position on my dance card this evening.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — BAD BEATS!!! We have been covering Bad Beats for like what, 30+ years in our nationally syndicated column. One of the BADDEST BEATS we have ever seen happened up in my second favorite country, well, maybe my first, Canada.

Karen Kuldys of Winnipeg could have won BIG TIME if there were two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the Blue Bombers-Argonauts game. She was part of the Safeway/Sobeys $1,000,000 Touchdown to Win contest. Winnipeg’s Ryan Lankford took the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.

In the second quarter, Toronto’s Martese Jackson took a kickoff to the end zone. But a penalty flag thrown 25 yards behind the play nullified the score. OUCH! FREAKIN’ OUCH!!! I watched the replay, and sadly, it was a penalty. Still feel horrible for Karen K and the MILLION that went down the drain with a yellow flag. YO Double K, next time you’re in Vegas, hotdogs at Pink’s on me!

More GREAT news from my man, NBA commish Adam Silver. At a little shindig this week in New York City, the commissioners of all four major sports, Roger the Good, Rob the Man, Gary the Bett, along with Silver, gathered for a panel titled “GameChangers: Creating the Future of Sports.” Here’s what Silver said, which is GOLD for the people that live in my world.

“My sense is the law will change in the next few years in the United States.” He also stressed the importance of in-game wagering, saying, “People want to bet throughout the game ...It results in ENORMOUS additional engagement with the fans.” The caps are all mine. But there’s probably a large portion of the gambling public, outside of Vegas, that does not even know about in-game wagering. For those under 50, you probably AIN’T gonna get this next reference, but, HI HO SILVER!!!

On the baseball board, gonna look to give you another winner (had the Pirates over the Cards last Friday) and try the Royals over the White Sox. With the stipulation that James Shields is on the mound for Chicago. What up with that, Eck? Well, Shields has been a DISASTER for the Sox, and total MONEY in my wallet. Shields was supposed to form a dynamic one-two punch at the top of Chicago’s rotation with Jose Quintana.

Well, Quintana is gone — he went to the Cubs — and Shields has been awful since coming off the DL. How awful? What about 25 hits and 18 earned runs over the last 20 innings. If you don’t have your calculator handy, that’s a BLOATED 8.10 ERA, which is why Kaycee is on my dance card this evening.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — Gold. Green. Dollars. Loonies. Any way you wanna put it, the Westgate Hotel in Vegas is giving away money by the wheelbarrow. Of course, they have the existing SuperContest, which I joined last season THX to the boys at OddsShark. It’s a $1,500 entry fee and I missed out on the $895,000 prize. Finished up the NFL season with an overall record of 30 games over .500, picking the entire card, but my top five games every week for the contest didn’t make it to 60 percent.

Got a new plan this year, and expect to cash, baby! And the kind folks at the Westgate are starting a new contest called SuperContest Gold. MO MONEY! The Gold is gonna be a high-stakes, winner-take-all version of the SuperContest with a $5,000 entry fee. Did I say WINNER-TAKE-ALL! My old friend Brent Musburger was the first guy who jumped in and slapped down the $5,000 entry fee. Don’t know if I’m gonna cash, but my life would be totally exceptional if I kicked Brent in the footballs and beat his W/L record. Why so angry? A little revenge for making me drive Jimmy The Greek (you youngsters can Google him) home every Sunday evening from the CBS studios back in the ’80s.

Not sure yet how I’m gonna get to the $5,000 entry fee, but might be thinking about a Kickstarter. If we involve a handful of people and agree to split the cash at the end of the season, it could be a ton of fun. You can hit my email, ben@americasline.com, if you’re interested. We might even make the picks a collaborative effort. Still noodling, but I’ll yell when everything is firmed up.

If you’re coming out this way, you might wanna consider hitting the northern part of Nevada, Lake Tahoe specifically, for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. It’s at least 30 degrees cooler up in Tahoe, and you might be able to chat with Tony Romo, Justin Timberlake, John Smoltz and maybe even Sir Charles Barkley. Mark Mulder, the pitcher from the A’s and Cardinals, is the current betting favorite at 7/2, with Romo right on his tail at 4/1. If you’re going, yell at me, I know the guy who runs it, and can probably get you inside the ropes!  

A little baseball action for you tonight out in Arizona, but you’re gonna have to pay a steep price. Looking at the D-backs with Zack Greinke over the Reds. Greinke owns a gorgeous 7-2 lifetime record against Cincinnati. What could be more gorgeous than that? How about a stinkin’ 8-0 perfecto at home so far this season. Still not convinced? Take a look at Cincy’s Tim Adleman. He has been raked for 18 hits over the last 15 innings. When you’re giving up more than a hit per inning, it’s kinda tough to find the win column. Throw a few chips on Arizona if you don’t mind the heavy chalk.

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.

Archived Articles

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 — It’s pushing 112 degrees here in Vegas, which is like what, 44 Celsius. But it’s a DRY heat. Yeah, dry like sitting in a FREAKIN’ OVEN! Before my keyboard melts, gotta throw this golf story at you, which sounds almost too INSANE to be true.

There’s a guy over in England, Jordan Baker, who claims to have placed a two-pound bet, which is like $2.50 over here, on the four major winners. If he hits all four, his payback is like over TWO AND A HALF MILLION! Guess who he had in the Masters? Yup, Sergio Garcia. Guess who he had in the U.S. Open? Yup, Brooks Koepka. Two down, two to go. He has Rickie Fowler in the British Open, and Justin Thomas in the PGA.

He posted a screenshot of the ticket on his Twitter, and it looks like he made the wager at Bet365. It looks real, but gonna do some checking and see if it’s kosher. Seems like a nice enough guy. Told Golf Digest that he would “buy my mom a house, take Dad on a golfing trip around the U.K., buy myself a nice Ferrari and then take all the lads on holiday to Vegas.” Yo, J. Baker, if you win, and come to Vegas, I WANNA be one of the lads!

Not a fan of New Jersey, but will be rooting for Chris Christie and the Garden State on Monday when the Supreme Court will announce which petitions it is granting and which it is denying. Jersey is all in on the Christie vs. NCAA et al. Not sure who the ‘al’ is, but if the Supremes in the black robes give thumbs up to the Jersey petition, I’ll be singing one of the Supremes’ songs all day long. You know, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the song is “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”

Not really up to speed on the CFL just yet, so we’ll take a look at the bases and try the Indians over the Twins. A 6-5 pitcher with a 5.54 ERA usually doesn’t jump onto my radar screen, but Trevor Bauer is starting to heat up. After a lousy start, losing two of his first six, Bauer has won four of his last five decisions. And he enjoys a 3-0 mark against the Twinkies this season. On the other side of the field, Minny rookie Adalberto Mejia is starting to sink like a rock in a barrel of feathers. He has only one W in nine outings, and his last two starts have been batting practice for the Mariners and Indians. He was rocked for 14 hits and 10 earned runs in only eight innings of work. That translates to an 11.25 ERA, and that also translates to an easy win for Cleveland.

And if you’re one of those who says percentages be damned because parlays are an awful percentage play, you can throw down the Rays and Chris Archer to beat the Orioles with Ubaldo Jimenez, combine it with the Indians and have a fabulous weekend!

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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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 — For all you hockey heads that think HARO, HARD or HART stats are important, or that Corsi and Fenwick are crucial to the outcome, or maybe that even the old plus/minus is a legit rating to look at when you are handicapping a game, THINK outside the proverbial box. Going down to Smashville for Game 6, and THE most IMPORTANT question is, WHO will sing the national anthem? Of course we have come up with a list of odds, and the window to wager is now open. Not sure where, but someone, somewhere in the world will take action.

On my list, we’ve got Dolly Parton, Tennessee’s own, as the favorite at 2/1. If Dolly does come out onto the ice, the roof would blow off Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena (and just in case you wanna see something AMAZING in a Bridgestone swimsuit, plz hit my website, www.americasline.com). The only possible way to surpass Dolly would be if Elvis stepped up to the mic.

Can’t make odds because I believe he is still dead. Next up is Tim McGraw at 3/1, Blake Shelton at 4/1, Miranda Lambert at 5/1, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift both at 8/1, and another Tennessee native, Justin Timberlake, at 10/1. My money is on Dolly!!!

Sadly, there is no Triple Crown on the line at the Belmont Stakes and people have not even been talking about it, but if there’s a few bucks to be made, we’re GONNA talk. Or my man Martin Calia is. Here’s what Marty thinks. Irish War Cry should get a better trip than he had in the Derby, but don't see him winning. The pick is Twisted Tom. Why? He is trained by Chad Brown, who is hot as a waffle iron hitting 33% winners, has the top jock in Javier Castellano, winning at 21%, and is 3-3 in 2017 since the addition of blinkers. And for the exacta, try Double T and Irish War Cry.

The only question on the NBA hardwood tonight is, can LeBron avoid the BROOM? Probably not, but at +6, gotta think that we see another fairly tight game. Might be wishful thinking but gimme half a Benjamin on King James. Hitting the bases, we’re gonna roll out west and try the Dodgers with Rich Hill over the Reds.

Every pick we rocked cashed in last week’s column, and looking for another perfecto, gotta try the Predators on Sunday night to give us what we all want, the two best words in sports…GAME SEVEN.

With a 9-1 record on home ice in the playoffs, gotta go with the Preds as they face the ULTIMATE MUST-WIN game in Nashville. As long as it’s not Kelly Clarkson singing the anthem. The Predators lost ONLY one game at home in the playoffs, on May 18 against Anaheim, when Clarkson was behind the mic. If it actually IS Dolly Parton, DOLLY FREAKING PARTON, we go ALL IN on Nashville. Push ALL our chips to the center of the table. If it’s anyone other than Dolly, still like the Predators. If it’s Elvis, I’ll be CRYING like a two-year-old for at least a month, and really could care less who wins!

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.