Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks 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 one of those so-called Blue Bloods won’t be at the Final Four. We’re talking North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA and Louisville. That’s THIRTY-ONE YEARS! WOW!
Now for the winner of this very first game on Saturday between Virginia and Auburn. Speaking of Blue Bloods, Charles Barkley’s Tigers beat Kansas, North Carolina and Kentuckyback to back to back, to make it to their first EVER Final Four. This was VERY impressive. And the previous W against Kentucky was WITHOUT one of their greatest players, Chuma Okeke. Auburn rumbles to the celebration 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 previous 14, but contrary to the spread, the’Hoos have managed to cover only three of the last seven. Not calling for the upset, but would buy the hook, push the line to +6, and observe Sir Charles cry on national TV. Crying since, as all of us know, Barkley is a ferocious sports bettor, and he will be over Auburn and also the points.
In the nightcap, we are gonna roll with Texas Tech +2.5 points over Michigan State. Obviously, we’ll buy the hook and drive Tech to +3. What else can the Red Raiders do? They rolled to the Sweet 16 from the second-best defensive team in college hoops, Michigan, and hauled the Wolverines off 63-44. Then they looked in the daunting task of facing the NUMBER ONE offense in the Nation in the Elite Eight, Gonzaga. You believe the Raiders were worried? Nah. They held that the’Zags into ONLY 69 points, nearly TWENTY points under their season average of 87.6.
What about any other matchups with the Big Ten? Gotcha. Aside from the Michigan match, Tech stomped on Nebraska 70-52. More? OK. TT has won 13 of the previous 14 straight up, covered seven of the last eight, and steps onto the court in Minneapolis working within an 8-0 disperse PERFECTO on the street. It ai not gonna be simple, but we are backing the blossom, Chris Beard!!!
NBA pick For your wagering pleasure, here will be some disperse stats of this day. The Nuggets might not catch the Warriors to the top seed in the Western Conference, but you realize they are gonna bring some warmth to this ESPN matchup against the Blazers. Denver continues to be on a sweet roll, winning nine of the past 13 straight up, but against the spread, the Nugs have covered only four of the previous 12.
They’ve been stingy with things allowed and also have gone UNDER in 10 of the previous 12 games. Portland brings an identical portfolio into the dining table, winning eight of the previous nine straight up, but have done WAY better against the spread, covering four of their previous five. Looking at the big picture, the Nuggets’ in general spread log sits at 40-38, 24-15 in the house and 29-26 as a favorite. The Blazers’ in general spread markers is 44-33-1, 21-18 on the street and 13-15 as an underdog. Light tickle to Portland.
NHL select Additionally skating on the NHL ice, also obtained a play into the Blue Jackets over the Rangers.
PLZ struck me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorish, just in case anything pops.
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, together with all the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and above 100 other newspapers since 1988. It is possible to follow him online at www.americasline.com. He’s loved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. Should you wanna bit of Eck, hit his email…firstname.lastname@example.org.
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