It's been a half century since the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. In fact, it's been 50 years since the Chiefs went to the Super Bowl. But Kansas City is favored to get there this year. The Chiefs go into the AFC Championship Game as 7.5-point favorites over the Tennessee Titans. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers are seven-point favorites over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
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MLB Series Preview & Betting Lines
The series: Texas Rangers at Chicago Cubs, Friday, July 15th to Sunday, July 17th
Featuring a top-five pitching rotation, the Cubs have been a top three team in the MLB this season with a record of 53-35. Though they have been leading the NL Central from wire-to-wire, Chicago has hit a rough patch as of late with a 2-8 slide through their last 10 games.
While Cubs fans shouldn't be too worried as All-Star slumps are fairly common, there might be some room for concern if Chicago can't turn it around their form around quickly. This is why the first series with Texas will be incredibly vital for the Cubbies to regain momentum.
On the mound for the three games will be a potent lineup of Kyle Hendricks (Friday), Jason Hammel (Saturday) and John Lackey (Sunday). Chicago also has potentially the most talented team in baseball with five NL All-Star starters, the most all stars of any team in the league.
The Rangers (54-36), on the other hand, started 2016 slow but have been thrashing opponents in the AL West as of late and hold a 5.5 game lead in the division. However, akin to the Cubs, Texas struggled going into the All-Star break with a mark of 3-7 in their last 10.
Nonetheless, the Rangers are one of the best, if not the best team in the AL. Texas will roll out pitcher Martin Perez (7-5, 3.85 ERA) in the series opener against Hendricks and will have a solid matchup in the remaining two games.
Though the Rangers have one of the best pitchers, Cole Hamels, in all of baseball, he probably won't start since he will be leading off the All-Star game.
Though the teams do stack up fairly well, the Cubs have home fiels advantage and a slight edge in overall talent.
The Pick: Chicago wins two games to one
The series: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies, Friday July 15th to Sunday, July 17th
As one of the less highlighted matchups of the post-break slate of games, New York against Philadelphia should hold some long-term significance. The Mets, once the pick of the public to make a repeat World Series appearance, have fallen on hard times this season.
Former starter Matt Harvey has been placed on injured reserve for the season and potentially might not make it for the 2017 season. Even without Harvey, New York still has a stacked lineup with All-Star pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon. Jacob deGrom will make the first start of the series and will be a certain lock to give the Phillies a run for their money. All-Star Yoenis Cespedes is another face to watch when the series commences on Friday.
The Philles meanwhile have suprised a lot of the baseball world by registering a decent mark of 42-48 going into the All-Star game.
While this sub-.500 record isn't the best by any means in baseball, the Phillies were expected to be potentially the worst team in the MLB. Philadelphia has even surprised the Mets a couple of times this season, including a 2-1 series upset at the beginning of the 2016 season.
All-Star outfielder Odubel Herrera has led the Phillies on the year and the rest of the lineup has looked strong as of late with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games.
The series has been locked at three games apiece on the season, but look for New York to get their groove back when the two lock up in Philly.
The Pick: Mets win two games to one
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