Las Vegas Expert Picks: Final Four, NBA, NHL
Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly selections in his”Ecks & Bacon” column.
Final Four picks
LAS VEGAS — Can’t recall which one of those 279 websites where I read this, but that is the first time in 31 years that among the so-called Blue Bloods will not be in the Final Four. We’re talking North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA and Louisville. That is THIRTY-ONE Decades! WOW!
Now for the winner of this very first game on Saturday between Virginia and Auburn. Talking of Blue Bloods, Charles Barkley’s Tigers conquer Kansas, North Carolina and Kentuckyback to back, to make it to their original EVER Final Four. That was VERY impressive. And the last W against Kentucky has been WITHOUT one of the best players, Chuma Okeke. Auburn rumbles to the party on a 12-0 straight-up PERFECTO and has covered eight of the last 10.
Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers come in with an impressive resume too, winning 13 of the last 14, but against the spread, the’Hoos have managed to pay only three of the previous seven. Not necessarily calling for the outright upset, but would buy the hook, push on the lineup to +6, and watch Sir Charles cry on national TV. Crying because, as we all know,” Barkley is a ferocious sports bettor, and he’ll be all over Auburn plus the points.
In the nightcap, we’re gonna roll with Texas Tech +2.5 points over Michigan State. Of course, we WILL buy the hook and push Tech to +3. What else can the Red Raiders do? They rolled to the Sweet 16 from the second-best defensive group in school hoops, Michigan, and hauled the Wolverines off 63-44. Then they looked in the daunting task of confronting the NUMBER ONE offense in the Nation in the Elite Eight, Gonzaga. You believe that the Raiders were worried? Nah. They held that the’Zags into ONLY 69 points, nearly TWENTY points below their season average of 87.6.
What about any other matchups with the Big Ten? Gotcha. Besides the Michigan match, Tech stomped on Nebraska 70-52. More? OK. TT has won 13 of the previous 14 up, covered seven of the previous eight, and steps on the court in Minneapolis working within an 8-0 spread PERFECTO on the road. It ai not gonna be simple, but we are backing the beard, Chris Beard!!!
NBA pick For your wagering pleasure, here are some disperse stats of this day. The Nuggets may not grab the Warriors for the top seed in the Western Alliance, but you know they are gonna bring some warmth to the ESPN matchup against the Blazers. Denver continues to be around a sweet roll, winning nine of the last 13 up, but against the spread, the Nugs have covered only four of the previous 12.
They’ve been stingy with things permitted and also have gone UNDER in 10 of the previous 12 games. Portland brings a similar portfolio into the table, winning eight of the last nine straight up, but have done WAY better against the spread, covering four of their last five. Taking a look at the big picture, the Nuggets’ in general disperse log sits in 40-38, 24-15 at home and 29-26 as a favorite. The Blazers’ overall spread markers is 44-33-1, 21-18 on the road and 13-15 as an underdog. Light tickle to Portland.
NHL select Also skating on the NHL ice, and obtained a play over the Rangers to the Blue Jackets.
PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, even @vegasvigorish, just if anything pops.
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with all the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and above 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him on line at www.americasline.com. He is loved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he chooses the occasional loser. If you wanna bit of Eck, hit on his email…email@example.com.