Las Vegas Expert Picks: NCAAF Championship Games, NFL Week 14
Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column
LAS VEGAS — No cute opening graph, just right down to BIZ!
On the college football board tonight, looking at the Ducks +6.5 over Utah. Anybody gonna go against a Utah team that is on a gorgeous 8-0 roll, straight up and against the spread? Hmmmmmm. Me, maybe. Last season, the Utes hosted Oregon IN Salt Lake City as a 6-point favorite and posted a 32-25 win. Not exactly a blowout, and Utah had HOME field. This game is at a neutral site, Santa Clara, California, so no edge this time for the Utes. The Ducks have lost twice this season, by six points at a neutral site (AT&T Stadium in Arlington) against a pretty solid Auburn team, 27-21, and then 31-28 at Arizona State the week after blowing away USC. Utah is playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff, while Oregon is looking for a win to put a few roses in between its teeth. This does not make the best bet category, but we will buy the hook to +7, and quack with the Ducks.
And looking at championship Saturday, in the $12,000,000 game, we’ll throw a few chips on Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic over UAB. Why $12 MILL??? The Kiff has been at FAU for three years, which is just about the limit of his shelf life at any one place. There are a handful of really solid openings, especially in the SEC, that’ll probably pay between $2 million and $4 million per year. So, a dominant win here should be just 60 minutes away for the Owls from Boca Raton, who have won nine of the last 10. And, THIS IS A HOME GAME for Atlantic!
Totally respect the Georgia defense, but gotta go with the soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, and my favorite coach in college football, Eddie O!!!
All hail the DUCK!!! Yeah, quack quack, BABY! After exacting a pound of sweet revenge against the Browns last week, Pittsburgh should breeze in Arizona. Letdown? Nah. This AIN’T college, baby. And the Steel is fighting for its wild-card life with the Titans, Colts and Raiders. Back to the Duck. That would be Devlin Hodges. With Ben Roethlisberger on the shelf and Mason Rudolph benched, the Duck stepped in last week and hit 14 of 21 for 212 yards. And if you need a little back story, Hodges played four years at Samford, and was the CAREER FCS leader in passing yards with 14,584. So, he KNOWS how to sling the rock. But it’s the wicked D that’s gonna be the difference in this spot. The Steel Curtain has the fourth-most sacks in the league, while ’Zona has allowed the seventh-most sacks. And with a gimpy hamstring, Kyler Murray is gonna be running for his life all day, at HALF SPEED. One thing left to say, and you know what it is. This IS my BEST BET, BAABBEEE!!!
Might not see you Monday, but got a couple of cash cows. You know that the Eagles are gonna be SKY-HIGH after watching the Cowboys lose, and while we’re not prepared to lay a 10 spot, got some props that look VERY tasty. Check out my man Zach Ertz. After last week’s ugly, Ertz said, “Probably one of the worst games I’ve played in a long time. … We can’t let this ruin the season.” So, LOVE Zach OVER for total receptions, no matter what the number, because he’ll probably grab at least eight. Also, got the Green Birds to get the GREEN in the first quarter at -2.
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…email@example.com.
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