Las Vegas Expert Picks: Final Four, NBA, NHL
Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of expertise 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 are talking North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA and Louisville. That’s THIRTY-ONE YEARS! WOW!
Now for the winner of the very first game on Saturday between Virginia and Auburn. Speaking of Blue Bloods, Charles Barkley’s Tigers conquer Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky, back to back to back, to make it to their first EVER Final Four. That was VERY impressive. And the previous W against Kentucky has been WITHOUT one of the greatest players, Chuma Okeke. Auburn rumbles into 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 as well, winning 13 of the last 14, but contrary to the spread, the’Hoos have managed to cover only three of their last seven. Not necessarily calling for the outright upset, but might buy the hook, push on the lineup to +6, and observe 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 are gonna roll with Texas Tech +2.5 points over Michigan State. Obviously, we WILL buy the hook and push Tech to +3. What else can the Red Raiders do? They rolled into the Sweet 16 from the second-best defensive team in school hoops, Michigan, and blew the Wolverines off 63-44. They then looked in the daunting task of facing the NUMBER ONE offense in the country in the Elite Eight, Gonzaga. You think that the Raiders were nervous? Nah. They held that the’Zags into ONLY 69 points, almost TWENTY points below their season average of 87.6.
What about any other matchups using all the Big Ten? Gotcha. Aside from the Michigan match, Tech stomped on Nebraska 70-52. More? OK. TT has won 13 of the last 14 straight up, covered seven of the last eight, and steps on the court in Minneapolis working on an 8-0 spread PERFECTO on the road. It ai not gonna be simple, but we are backing the blossom, Chris Beard!!!
NBA select For the wagering pleasure, here will be your disperse stats of this day. The Nuggets may not grab the Warriors for the top seed in the Western Conference, but you know they are gonna bring some heat 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 just four of the previous 12.
They’ve been stingy with points permitted and have gone UNDER at 10 of the previous 12 games. Portland brings a similar portfolio into the table, winning eight of the previous nine straight up, but have done WAY better from the spread, covering four of their last five. Looking at the big picture, the Nuggets’ overall disperse log sits in 40-38, 24-15 at house and 29-26 as a favored. The Blazers’ in general spread markers is 44-33-1, 21-18 on the street and 13-15 within 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 hit me Twitter over the weekend, even @vegasvigorish, just if anything pops.
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, together with all the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has conducted in the New York Daily News and over 100 other newspapers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is loved by many, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. Should you wanna bit of Eck, hit on his email…firstname.lastname@example.org.
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