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 remember which one of the 279 sites where I read this, but that is the first time in 31 years that one of those so-called Blue Bloods will not 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 the first game on Saturday between Virginia and Auburn. Talking of Blue Bloods, Charles Barkley’s Tigers beat Kansas, North Carolina and Kentuckyback to back, to make it to their first EVER Final Four. This was VERY impressive. And the previous W against Kentucky has been WITHOUT one of the greatest players, Chuma Okeke. Auburn rumbles to the party on a 12-0 straight-up PERFECTO and has covered eight of the previous 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 just three of their previous seven. Not calling for the outright upset, but would purchase the hook, push the lineup to +6, and watch Sir Charles cry on national TV. Crying since, as all of us know, Barkley is a ferocious sports bettor, and he will 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’ll purchase 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 college hoops, Michigan, and hauled the Wolverines away 63-44. Then they looked in the daunting task of confronting the NUMBER ONE offense in the country in the Elite Eight, Gonzaga. You believe the Raiders were worried? Nah. They held that the’Zags to ONLY 69 points, almost TWENTY points under their season average of 87.6.
What about any other matchups using 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 within an 8-0 disperse PERFECTO on the road. It ai not gonna be easy, but we’re backing the blossom, Chris Beard!!!
NBA select For the wagering pleasure, here will be your spread stats of this day. The Nuggets may not catch the Warriors for the top seed in the Western Conference, but you know they are gonna deliver some warmth to this ESPN matchup against the Blazers. Denver continues to be on a sweet roll, winning nine of the last 13 up, but contrary to the spread, the Nugs have covered only four of the previous 12.
They have been stingy with points allowed and also have gone UNDER at 10 of the previous 12 games. Portland brings an identical portfolio into the table, winning eight of the last nine straight up, but have done WAY better from the spread, covering four of their previous five. Taking a look at the big picture, the Nuggets’ overall disperse log sits in 40-38, 24-15 in the home 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 pick Additionally skating on the NHL ice, also obtained a play over the Rangers into the Blue Jackets.
PLZ struck me on Twitter over the weekend, @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. It is possible to follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is loved by many, when he chooses winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna bit of Eck, hit on his email…firstname.lastname@example.org.
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