Las Vegas Expert Picks: Final Four, NBA, NHL

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three years of experience to make weekly selections in his»Ecks & Bacon» column.
Final Four picks
LAS VEGAS — Can’t recall which one of those 279 sites where I read this, but this is the first time in 31 years that among those so-called Blue Bloods will not be in 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. Speaking of Blue Bloods, Charles Barkley’s Tigers conquer Kansas, North Carolina and Kentuckyback to back to back, to make it to their first EVER Final Four. This was VERY impressive. And the last W against Kentucky was WITHOUT one of the best players, Chuma Okeke. Auburn rumbles into the celebration 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 previous 14, but against the spread, the’Hoos have managed to pay just three of the last seven. Not necessarily calling for the upset, but might buy the hook, push on the lineup 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 all over Auburn plus the points.
In the nightcap, we’re 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 into the Sweet 16 from the second-best defensive team in school hoops, Michigan, also blew the Wolverines away 63-44. They then looked at the daunting task of facing the NUMBER ONE crime in the Nation in the Elite Eight, Gonzaga. You think the Raiders were worried? 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 with all 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 road. It ai not gonna be simple, but we are backing the beard, Chris Beard!!!
NBA select For the wagering pleasure, here are some disperse stats of this day. The Nuggets may not catch the Warriors to the top seed in the Western Alliance, but you realize they are gonna bring some heat to this ESPN matchup from the Blazers. Denver continues to be around a sweet roll, winning nine of the past 13 up, but contrary to the spread, the Nugs have covered just four of the previous 12.
They’ve been stingy with points permitted and also have gone UNDER at 10 of the previous 12 games. Portland brings an identical portfolio to the dining table, winning eight of the last nine straight up, but have done WAY better against the spread, covering four of their last five. Looking at the big picture, the Nuggets’ in general spread log sits at 40-38, 24-15 at home and 29-26 as a favored. The Blazers’ in general spread mark is 44-33-1, 21-18 on the street and 13-15 as an underdog. Light tickle to Portland.
NHL pick Additionally skating onto the NHL ice, also obtained a drama over the Rangers to the Blue Jackets.
PLZ struck 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, together with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has conducted in the New York Daily News and above 100 other papers since 1988. It is possible to follow him on line at He’s beloved by most, when he chooses winners, and detested by others, when he chooses the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email…

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