NFL Expert Picks | Odds – Shark



Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Las Vegas — So, we just heard that Brent Musburger is leaving ESPN and planning to move to Vegas and start a sports betting network with his family. Listen Brent, CALL ME! I’ve been on the odds/handicapping beat for the last 35 years, and living in Vegas since 1987. Know every decent tout service that works hard for your dollar, sadly there are only a few, and know just about every SCUMdicapper as well. CALL ME!

We can talk old times when you used to work at CBS’ NFL Live show with my man Jimmy the Greek. You’ll remember that I drove Jimmy from the studio on West 57th in my beat-to-crap-hooptie 1972 Chevy Vega, because the Greek was allergic to cabs. Well, that was his story, but it coulda been an “alternative fact.”

For those not into politics, or not familiar with the term “alternative fact,” just Google the name Kellyanne Conway and see what happens. And when I say beat-to-crap-hooptie, I’m talking about a two-foot-wide hole in the floorboard under the gas pedal that was big enough for me to stop the car like Fred Flintstone used to do by just putting his feet through the hole and onto the ground. And if you’re not familiar with “The Flintstones” TV show, SHAME on you.

So, CALL ME, Brent, and I’ll buy you a chili dog at Pink’s on the Strip, or, maybe you prefer a Chicago Polish dog, and we can talk shop.

PROP-A-LICIOUS!!!

Without a doubt, the OddsShark prop page is a little slice of heaven. We are not gonna get into the prop bets till next week, but before you step up to the window, or call your guy, you’ll wanna check out the prop page for the graphics and the percentages attached to the props. A SUPERB effort by the OddsShark team.

What about a little tennis. I’ll let you figure out what time the Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal match starts down in Australia. Too confusing for me. My kid went to Japan a few months ago, and I could never get when to call him. Woke him up in the middle of the night at least a dozen times.

These two greats have played a ton of times, with Rafa enjoying an overall 23-11 edge. They have not played since 2015 in Basel, Switzerland, when Roger beat Nadal in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Rafa has three wins over Fed in Melbourne, two in the semis and one in the final. Both have played two five-set matches leading up to this final, and both seem to be in superb form. It’s either #18 for Roger or #15 for Rafa. We’ll take a small underdog price and put some cash on #18, the Swiss Maestro.

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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Where you watching, Eck? Living in Vegas for the last 30 years, people are always asking where I’ll be watching the games. What’s my favorite sportsbook? Number one on my list is the space at the Wynn Hotel. It’s not a huge place, so you might wanna arrive early. And this joint checks off every box on my list. Screens…plenty big, plenty crisp. Seats…freakin’ leather recliners. OK, maybe faux leather, but still as comfortable as the one at my house. Servers…always available and always looking exceptional. Food…fabulous deli right next to the book, and if you’re asking, my go-to is tuna on rye, extra mayo, with fries and a Dr. Brown’s black cherry.

Oh yeah, we got some BIZZNESS to get to. In the early game, put me down on the Falcons at -4.5 points over the Packers. 

Everyone knows that I have a man-crush on Mr. Discount Double Check. Mr. We’re Gonna Run the Table. Mr. Aaron Rodgers. Why not. He has led Green Bay to eight straight wins, with a 7-1 mark against the spread. His numbers have been off the chain (24 TDs and 1 INT during that stretch). You can cherry-pick any stat you want, and make a case for that team. Put those numbers aside for a minute and let’s take a look at the other QB in this game, Matt Ryan. Matty Ice has been just as hot as Rodgers, maybe even hotter. How’s that possible? OK, here. Atlanta has scored 71 more points than any other team in the NFL. Ryan’s 117.1 passer rating led the league and was the fifth-best in NFL history. He threw for 4,944 yards with 38 TDs and 7 INTs. And he is the odds-on favorite to win the regular season MVP. Speaking of the regular season, the Falcons posted a wild 33-32 win over the Pack down in Atlanta as a 3-point favorite. Win but no cover. Both QBs had similar numbers, but the stat line that really popped was Rodgers’ 60 yards rushing to LEAD the team. I’m totally positive that Mike McCarthy does NOT wanna have Aaron as the leading rusher again. 

And speaking of coaches. Say hello to Dan Quinn. Let me take you back to 2013 when DQ (which is my favorite ice-cream joint, and Banana Split Blizzard is my go-to) worked for Pete Carroll in his first season as defensive coordinator. The Seahawks pulled off the INCREDIBLE defensive HAT TRICK, leading the league in fewest points allowed (231), fewest yards allowed (4,378) and takeaways (39). Seattle was the FIRST team since the 1985 Bears to pull off the hat trick. In 2014, Quinn’s defense saw the Packers and Rodgers twice, winning 36-16 in the season opener, and 28-22 in the NFC Championship Game. So, apparently, he KNOWS how to hold Aaron in check. Gonna throw down on the ATL, and call it 31-22 with a dash of home cookin’.

In the AFC title tilt, my ticket will read Steelers +6 points over the Patriots. 

Didn’t use this number in the first game, but gotta throw an INSANE stat at you. Pittsburgh is playing its third game in this postseason. Went back like 10 years and did you know, teams that have advanced to the Super Bowl, playing four games, which we’re predicting for the Steelers, have posted a STUPID, AMAZING, RIDONKULOUS 24-0 record against the spread. Did I just say TWENTY FOUR AND OH!!! Very tough to buck that stat. 

Also very tough to buck Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. You know that Double B is famous for taking away the other team’s main weapon. So, who’s he gonna take away Sunday? Le’Veon Bell? What about superstar WR Antonio Brown? Or the outlaw Jesse James at tight end who kinda looks like a baby Gronk? Tough decisions. If they try to stop Bell on the ground, the Steelers could send him out wide and cause all sorts of matchup problems. You listening, Mike Tomlin?

And if you’re gonna throw New England’s 27-16 Week 7 win at Pittsburgh in my face, DON’T. Why? Three words, all caps. NO BEN ROETHLISBERGER! Yeah, it was Landry Jones at QB, and his stat line, 29/47 for 281 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, was less than stellar. Big Ben is back, and ready to rumble, and this time, there is NO GRONK, who actually was the high man in receiving yards (93) for that game. Both teams came down the stretch like Secretariat, Pitt winning nine in a row, with a 7-1-1 spread record, and the Pats winning eight in a row, with a 6-1-1 spread log. If you like the OVER/UNDER totals, the UNDER is 6-0 in New England’s last six conference championship games. And staying low, the Steelers have gone UNDER in 16 of their last 22 games.

Never like to put my money on the opposite side of Tom Brady, but in this spot, just think that the Steel have too many weapons, and while they might not be playing on Super Sunday, a cover is all we ask for. Mark me down for a tight one, and, a BEST BET, Patriots 27-24.

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

Las Vegas — In the wild-card round last week, EVERY home team won, and EVERY favorite covered. We are not gonna see a 4-0 again, because the Seahawks, at +5 points over the Falcons, will be the first winning underdog out of the gate. Don’t get to see Pete Carroll’s crew as a dog all that often, but when they’re getting points, it’s usually money in the bank. In 2012, they were 7-1 as a dog, 2-0 in 2013, 1-0 in 2014, 1-2 in 2015 and 2-0 so far this season. Add it up and you’ll get a 13-3 record, with an 81% cover rate, which is serious MONEY in the bank. If you’re looking for a serious hole in your pocket, Matt Ryan has been in five playoff games, with a 1-4 straight-up record, and has not, repeat, HAS NOT covered a spread (0-4-1). If you’re saying Atlanta killed it after the bye week, winning five of six, I’ll say to you that the five Ws came against teams with losing records, and the loss was against Kaycee. Not sure about the outright win, but gonna buy a ticket with Russell Wilson’s name on it at +5.

In the late game, you’re probably laughing out loud, and elbowing the guy at the next stool, telling him that LUNATIC from Ecks & Bacon is gonna get sucked into taking the gigantic double-digit spread with the Texans +16 points over the Patriots. Well, yeah, kinda. But I’ll only bite if the line hits 17 (the Mirage sportsbook is there at the moment). Anything less and the wallet is closed. Talked about how QBs fare in the playoffs, and Tom Brady is amazing, with a 22-9 overall record and four Super Bowl rings. But against the spread, which is the ONLY stat that matters, Giselle’s husband is under water, swimming in red ink at 14-16-1. If you’re a fan of past performances, then you’ll love New England’s 27-0 bagel against Houston in Week 3 with Michael Barkann at QB, oops, I mean Jacoby Briskett under center. Isn’t brisket a cut of meat? Oops again, it was Brissett. Now it’s a Hall of Famer-in-waiting, home field and most likely, an easy W. Looking for a back-door cover, but would stay real light.

On to Sunday and what could be an ICE bowl, we’ll try the Chiefs -1 point over the Steelers. Gotta throw out a line from last week. Embarrassed? Oh, hell, yeah. In a Week 4 meeting in Pittsburgh, the Steelers blew away Kansas City 43-14. So, yes, revenge is on the table. After that loss came the bye week, and Andy (16-2 after byes) Reid guided his kids to a 10-2 mark to close out the season. A quick note on that blowout. It was IN Pittsburgh. Back in 2015, IN Kansas City, the Chiefs posted a 23-13 W, and covered a -3 point spread. On to the QBs. Ben Roethlisberger was in a walking boot after last weekend’s game, and says he is fine, but hey, if he tweaks an ankle again, it could be big trouble. Now to the DUAL personality of Kaycee QB Alex Smith. Mr. Regular Season Smith has averaged 197 yards per game with 157 TDs and 91 INTs. Mr. Post Season Smith averages 261 yards per, with 11 TDs and only 1 INT. Those numbers are startling, and leaves me with only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!

Close out divisional round weekend with the Packers +5 points over the Cowboys. Props to Dallas for creating one of the greatest rookie tandems in NFL history with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Both had superb games in Week 6 when Dallas beat the Packers 30-16 up in Green Bay. My guy, Mr. Discount Double Check, Aaron Rodgers, wasn’t horrible (31/42 for 294 yards), but it was Double E that killed the Cheeseheads, rumbling for 157 yards. Have not seen an over/under out there yet on total rushing yards for Elliott, but it’s under for me at any number. Both teams came down the stretch in style, but the Pack had more style points. Rodgers said they would run the table, and they DID, winning seven in a row, and covering six. If you’re sitting, during that 7-0 run, Mr. Rodgers threw 22 TDs and no, NOT ONE, INT. The ’Boys closed on a 4-2 straight-up run, but a very UGLY 1-5 mark against the spread. Might be the most entertaining game of the weekend, but not at the top of my wagering board. Pack covers, ’Boys 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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Las Vegas – Before we roll into the weekend, gotta advise caution, so everyone has a bankroll as we go through to the Super Bowl. Not as cautious as last week, when everything was discombobulated, but still careful. Why? Over the course of the regular season, you have 14 to 16 games to choose from, now you have only four. We had our best season ever selecting all the games, finishing with a 137-110-8 record. Our BEST BETS were even better at 12-3-1. However, with a CAPITAL H, you DON’T have to best bet a game this weekend, or press, just because they are there. It’s a trap we all fall into, but PLZ, handle with care.

So, now, let’s get WILD.

Kick it off with the Texans -3.5 points over the Raiders. The choice here is a $72-million free-agent bust, Brock Osweiler, vs a rookie, Connor Cook, making his FIRST EVER start. Yeesh. Where to turn? Toward the home team with a -49 point differential and a QB who posted the lowest yards per attempt (5.8) of any starter in the league? An offense that ranked 28th in scoring (279 points), 29th in yards (5,035), and 30th in passing touchdowns (15)? Those numbers are ugly, but the defense, ah, the D. Oakland’s rookie is gonna face the second-ranked pass defense in the NFL, and that’s no picnic. Counting on Brock O to rev this Texas engine, and put up numbers like last week (21/40 for 253 yards and a TD), but not gonna empty the wallet in the first game of the weekend.

Close out Saturday with the Lions +8 points over the Seahawks. Detroit comes in on a three-game skid against a Seattle team that is just about perfection at home in front of the 12th man, and we’re grabbing Motown. WHAT? What the Eck? Got concerns on the Seahawks side without All-Pro Earl Thomas. Since Thomas went down, Seattle has been basically an average team, posting a 2-2 mark. And the two wins came against two of the three WORST teams in the league, the Rams and Niners. They beat L.A. 24-3, but just squeezed past San Fran, 25-23. Yes, Seattle has a ton of playoff experience compared with the Lions, but the ’Hawks are riding an UGLY 0-4 reverse perfecto against the spread. But with a rookie, Graham Glasgow, at center, gotta drop this down to a medium-type selection. Handle accordingly.

Early Sunday, it’s the Steelers -10 points over the Dolphins. Embarrassed? HELL yeah. In the first meeting down in Miami, not only did Pittsburgh lose 30-15, the proud defense was TORCHED when RB Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards. Yeah, TWO HUNDRED FOUR. After putting embarrassment and revenge to the side, we offer up the experience factor. Ben Roethlisberger is making his 18th career playoff start while Matt Moore is making his first. Big Ben is 11-6 in the postseason, with two Super Bowl victories. Not gonna go crazy because laying double digits in the playoffs is never an easy road.

Wrap up the Wild weekend with the Giants +5 points over the Packers. Advisory. As everyone knows, my heart & soul are both in NYC. And while I always try to handicap with my brain, when it comes to the New York teams, all of ’em, my heart always bleeds into the picks. With that being said, my confusion after BOATGATE is at an all-time high. As the world knows, a handful of Giants went to Miami to enjoy a day off, and no one knows what happened on the boat. How will it affect the NYG? TBD. And while we think the world of Mr. Discount Double Check, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning might just be Green Bay’s kryptonite. The Giants lost to the Pack at Lambeau back in October, 23-16, but covered a 7.5-point spread. Eli beat the Cheeseheads twice in the playoffs, 23-20 in 2007 and 37-20 in 2011, BOTH in Green Bay. And Manning the younger has covered six of the last seven overall (86%) against the Pack. Eli’s coming and we’re walking to the window to get a small taste of the New Yorkers.

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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Las Vegas – Just found out about a PHENOMENAL 40-0 record. No, it’s not Ecks & Bacon. No, it’s not any of the legit touts, or, scamdicappers, although these guys tell you they are hitting over 80%. Actually, it’s not a person, or syndicate, or new computer group, it’s the Nevada sportsbooks. With a $19 million win in November, the books pushed their winning streak to a RIDONKULOUS FORTY MONTHS IN A ROW. The $19 mill was a 55% drop from last November, but the casinos were still able to keep the doors open.

Gotta throw down a caveat before we talk about week 17. And no, it doesn’t mean you’re going to the dentist. Actually, my Webster tells me caveat is a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations. So, here’s the warning. Week 17 is without a doubt, the TOUGHEST of the season to handicap. Who is gonna play their starters? How long will they play? How invested will they be? IMPOSSIBLE questions to answer.

So, in this spot, we will give out the best game we have, but don’t know if I’m ready to put it on my 12-3-1 BEST BET chart. And if you have a problem with that, come talk to me. I’ll be sitting in a leather recliner at the Wynn Race & Sportsbook, and I might even buy you lunch. Great deli right next to the book. Looked at this game, and noticed that Cincy coach Marvin Lewis is gonna shut down TE Tyler Eifert, WR A.J. Green, while LB Vontaze Burfict is still in concussion protocol.

Then John Harbaugh told the press he was planning on playing his starters, and wanted to rock a 9-7 record. If both coaches remain true to their word, it should turn into an easy victory for Baltimore. But you know what they say about the word if. If you don’t know, yell, and I’ll be happy to answer. It has to do with the Queen. Ravens are almost, but not quite a best bet.

Now for the College Playoffs.

In the early game, we’re on Alabama at -14 over Washington. Do not usually turn to comparative scores, but we’ll make an exception here. The Crimson Tide ROLLED over USC in the season opener, 52-6, while the Huskies came up on the short end of a 26-13 score against the Trojans. If Washington thought SC’s defense was tough, multiply that by FIVE, and that’s the storm coming on New Year’s Eve.

In the late game, it’s Ohio State -3 over Clemson. And revenge is part of the equation. The Tigers beat the Buckeyes in the 2013 Orange Bowl, 40-35, and it’s time for payback. Also time to shut the BIG mouth of Clemson S Jadar Johnson who said, “I’m not really strong on J.T. Barrett’s arm. We’ve definitely played better quarterbacks.” DAMN. Gonna be some serious anger brewing on the O-State side of the field, and that is just another reason to drop Urban and his kids into the National Championship Game down in Tampa.

Here are your spread stats for each side. Washington was not an underdog all season, and had a 4-2 spread record on the road. Alabama was 9-3 as a favorite, and 5-1 on the road. Clemson was not an underdog all season, and had a 2-4 spread record on the road. Ohio State was 6-6 as a favorite, with a 2-3 record on the road.

Happy & SAFE New Year to the Ecks & Bacon nation!!!

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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Here’s his selections for this weekend:

Las Vegas – The BLACK BOOK! For those not familiar with Vegas, the “Black Book” refers to a list of people who are unwelcome in casinos, CHEATERS! The people listed in the book are “blacklisted.” The Nevada Gaming Commission has banned a notorious card cheat who marked cards with invisible ink that he could see while wearing special contact lenses. Instead of banning him, they should hire him and give him a big fat bonus for being creative. I mean, REALLY. Invisible ink and specially treated contact lenses. WOW! Not recommending that anybody cheat, but gotta give this guy an A for creativity.

Had a mini-stumble on the best bet train last week, and came up short with the Texans. That put the BB record at 11-3-1, but we’re ready to make it an even dozen Ws tomorrow. And it’s the Packers -6.5 points over the Vikings.

My man, Mr. Discount Double Check, Aaron Rodgers, said after Green Bay was smoked at Washington 42-24, and fell to 4-6, that the Cheeseheads would run the table. Well, after winning four in a row, and covering three, it looks like there’s only one salt and one pepper shaker remaining on the table. The salt, Minny this week, is gonna fall for sure. The pepper, Detroit next week, could be a little spicier since it’s on the road. Back to Christmas Eve, and why the Vikes are gonna get rolled. After opening up at 5-0, they had a bye, and fell into a YUGE black hole, losing seven of nine, and covering just three times. Granted, the Pack had a mini-letdown (win, no cover) against the Bears last week after the stunning 38-10 win over Seattle. But the Bears game was away, the Seahawks blowout was at Lambeau, and you know how tough it is to beat the Cheese up in the ‘Frozen Tundra.’ Got only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!!

And while it’s not a best bet, I wouldn’t discourage you from dropping some change on the Lions. We took the kids from Motown at +7.5, and after the Giants lost, which gave the Cowboys the No. 1 seed, the line is coming down. Still like Detroit here, as long as it doesn’t drop below 6.

Gave out a sweet three-team teaser last week, and didn’t need the adjusted points in any of the games. San Diego State, Arkansas State and Appalachian State were all OUTRIGHT winners.

Let’s continue to bowl, and continue to tease. Looking at the Independence Bowl, gonna take Vanderbilt, and pump the Commodores up from +5.5 to +15.5 points against NC State. Then check the Military Bowl, grab Temple, and drop the Owls from -12 to -2 points over Wake Forest. Finish up with the Holiday Bowl, try Washington State, and take the Cougars down from -10 to a pick’em against Minnesota.

Merry & happy holidays to all my readers of every faith.

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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Here’s his selections for this weekend:

Las Vegas – Before we get to the MONEY, also known as our BEST BET, lace up your bowling shoes and come with me for a look at one of the early bowl games. If you were smart enough to grab Washington State in the Holiday Bowl when the Cougars opened at -5 over Minnesota, WELL DONE! The line is now at -10 and rising. You might wanna wait and see if they actually play this game. Minny suspended 10 players after an investigation into an alleged sexual assault at an off-campus apartment. Now, the rest of the team is threatening to boycott ALL football activities, including the Holiday Bowl. More bowling after some NFL love.

You’ve waited long enough, and we’re ready to unleash our BEST BET for Week 15, and it’s the Texans -5 points over the Jaguars. BANG! BANG! Excuse me if I sound kinda boring, or repetitive, but hit another best bet last week, Green Bay 38-10 over Seattle, and that bumped the BB record up to 11-2-1. Everyone is jumping all over Brock Osweiler, and while he has not been Tom Bradyesque, Houston is still sitting in first place in the AFC South, tied with Tennessee at 7-6. And Osweiler has been very smooth inside the division, actually perfect, with a 4-0 record straight up AND a 3-0-1 mark against the spread. He gets a ton of help on the ground from RB Lamar Miller, who already has a career high in carries (246) and has run for 1,010 yards in 13 games. Also noticed that head coach Bill O’Brien had a hat trick at the end of last season, winning and covering the last three games. And since the Jags have covered only four of the last 16 (25%), you know the drill. Got only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!!

Back to the bowling alley and we’ll drop some change on San Diego State +4 points over Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl. Not gonna say this is a home game for the Aztecs, but they know Vegas as well as anyone. They played here last season and destroyed UNLV, 52-14. Obviously, the invaders from Houston are WAY more talented than the Rebels, but San Diego State has a bunch of ties to Vegas. The most important is Donnel Pumphrey, who went to high school here, at Canyon Springs, and is just a few yards short of Ron Dayne’s all-time rushing record. The key word in that sentence is rushing. I’m sitting here, IN Vegas, and the winds are HOWLING. They’re gonna be raging tomorrow as well, between 20/30 mph, and the team with the better running game, SD State, has the edge. You want some MIND-BLOWING Pumphrey numbers? Gotcha. He ranks second in the country in rushing yards (2,018), rushing yards per game (155.2) and all-purpose yards (2,229) despite NOT playing in the fourth quarter in four of the past seven games. He is the only player in NCAA history with at least 5,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards. Case closed.

Of course, we got a little 10-point three-team teaser action for you. Start with the Aztecs and bump ’em up from +4 to +14 points. Take Arkansas State, and plump the Red Wolves up from +6 to +16 points against UCF. Finish up with Appalachian State, and take the Mountaineers from +1 to +11 points against Toledo.

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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Here’s his selections for this weekend:

Las Vegas – Young PUNKS feeling the heat. Oh yeah. Last week, I focused my laser on my man Nick Kostos and “Handsome” Hank Lockwood. And apparently, they couldn’t handle the heat, or, Ecks & Bacon. Knocked both of those guys off the top, and now gotta topple another young’un, Frank Schwab, to take over as the big dog for Team OddsShark. Again, none of this is personal, but his nickname, “Mr. Lucky?” C’MON! Me & Schwabie actually have something in common, which is basically a hair desert at the top of our heads. But just ’cause he’s a member of the bald bean club, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna show him any mercy.

You’ve waited long enough, and we’re ready to unleash our BEST BET for week 14.

And it’s the Packers +3 points over the Seahawks. BANG! Hit another best bet last week, Seattle 40-7 over Carolina, and that put the BB record into double-digit territory at 10-2-1. Why go against the Seahawks after they were so good to me last week? Oh boy, do we have reasons. First, Aaron Rodgers as a home dog? SERIOUSLY? The last time we saw Green Bay as a home dog was in 2013 when Mr. Discount Double Check was on the shelf with a fractured clavicle. The Pack have covered six of the last eight as an underdog and still have a shot at a wild card. Then there’s the stellar 18-5 record at Lambeau the last three years. Then there’s the devastating injury to Seattle’s 4X ALL-PRO safety, Earl Thomas, who is gone for the season. You don’t wanna face Rodgers missing one of your most important pieces in the defensive backfield. Then there’s the Seahawks’ lackluster performance on the road, with a 2-3-1 record. Got only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!!

Hope you all were on last week’s teaser, because it mighta been the easiest money of the year. We had Temple and adjusted the Owls to +13. Didn’t even need the points as they smacked Navy, 34-10. Took Clemson down to pick’em against Virginia Tech, and the Tigers gave me a little agita before posting a 42-35 W. Closed with Penn State at +13 on the adjusted line, and once again, didn’t need the points as the Nittany Lions rocked Wiscy with a 38-31 upset. No college foots until next week, not interested in Army/Navy, so of course, we’re gonna go pro. Start with the Colts, and take Indy from -6 to +4 points against the Texans. Move to Motown, and drop the Lions from -8 to +2 points over the Bears. Finish up with the Cheeseheads, and plump the Packers up from +3 to +13 points against the Seahawks.

Before I let you go, jump across the pond with me, and if you don’t mind laying a huge bundle, try Arsenal over Stoke City. But I must advise that I have been a lifelong fan of the Gunners, well since 1972, and might be letting my heart rule my brain. Just sayin’.

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 want a 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 NFL and college football picks in his ‘Ecks & Bacon’ column.

Here’s his selections for this weekend:

Las Vegas – Had a blast on the OddsShark video this week with Ryan Fowler, and for those who have not seen it, yes, I did call myself an idiot. If you look at the standings for Team OddsShark, Benjamin Eckstein, yeah, me, is lurking just a 1/2 game behind my fellow New Yorker, Nick Kostos. How nervous is ‘The Kostos?’ Why is he shaking like the last leaf on a maple tree that’s about to fall to the ground? Because even though I screwed up, he knows I’m coming for him. Yes, like an IDIOT, after four years in the Westgate Super Contest, you woulda thought that I knew the rules. Had some people in town a few weeks ago, and decided that I would put my picks in later on a Saturday afternoon before heading to dinner. Well, come to find out that the deadline is 11:00 a.m. So, got hit with a big FAT bagel, an 0-5 for that week. And yet, still ONLY a stinkin’ 1/2 game off the lead. Yeah Kostos, you BETTER look over your shoulder ’cause Ecks & Bacon is sizzling, and ready to move to the top of the charts! Didn’t mention ‘Handsome’ Hank Lockwood (we’re tied at 31.5) for two reasons. First, HANDSOME Hank. REALLY? Second, his favorite team, the Patriots, and player, Tom Brady, are all CHEATERS!

Gave out two possibles on the OddsShark video for my best bet this Sunday, and have settled my internal squabble with the Seahawks -7 points over the Panthers. Why? Step into my time machine and come back with me to Super Bowl XXXVII. It was the Raiders vs the Bucs in San Diego. Oakland flew in as a 4-point favorite, but Barrett Robbins, who was a first-team all-pro that season, missed the game after disappearing two days prior to kickoff. Robbins was responsible for pass protection calls and was an important component to the ground game. Without Robbins, the silver & black rushed for ONLY 19 yards, and wound up on the wrong end of a 48-21 blowout. Why the history lesson? Carolina has lost its center, FIVE-TIME PRO BOWL CENTER, Ryan Kalil, as well as his backup, Gino Gradkowski. Uh-oh! Made a nice score betting Tampa Bay, and looking for another easy W Sunday evening. With Seattle’s AMAZING record at home the last five years, 36-5, and the Panthers’ recent work against the spread, covering just two of the last 11 (18%), got only one thing left to say. This IS my BEST BET, BABY!!

After cashing a sweet ticket last week on our three-team 10-point teaser, gotta come back with another gem.

In case you were not on the gravy train, we had Penn State adjusted to -2, our favorite upset maybe EVER, Kentucky plumped up to +37, and Florida State at +3 points. Easy money. This time, we’re gonna roll with Temple, and bump the Owls up from +3 to +13 points against Navy. Take Clemson down from -10 to pick’em over Virginia Tech. Then close with Penn State, and plump the Nittany Lions up from +3 to +13 points over Wiscy.

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 want a piece of Eck, hit his email…ben@americasline.com.



Source link

Leave a Comment