UFC 253 comes packed with fireworks from both inside the octagon and the betting lines as middleweight king Israel Adesanya settles his grudge with the unbeaten destroyer, Paulo Costa. Both fighters are explosive strikers and with ill will all but guaranteeing heated exchanges. Co-headlining are red-hot fighters Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz facing off for the vacant light heavyweight title. Let's break down these fights and see which bets we can cash.
2016 NL Central Outright Betting Lines And Prediction
The Chicago Cubs entered the 2016 season as the favourites to win the World Series and nothing they've done in the first half of the season would suggest they weren't deserving of that label. Chicago had the best record in baseball for the majority of the first half, sent six players to the All-Star game, have the best run differential in the league by over 30 runs (+139) and have a seven-game lead in the division over the Cardinals.
Barring a tremendous collapse by this young and talented Cubs team, we will see them back playing October baseball this year, in all likelihood as NL Central Division champions.
NL Central Outright Betting Lines
The fact that some sportsbooks out there aren't even offering NL Central Outright betting lines at the MLB All-Star break speaks to hell well the Cubs have played for the bulk of the first half. There have been some minor struggles, but sportsbooks believe that the Cubs are poised to run away with the NL Central this year and don't even want bettors to consider those big payouts by backing the St Louis Cardinals or Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sports Interaction is one of those sportsbooks that has posted odds on the NL Central winner, but unless you are looking to hit it big by backing one of those two teams not named “Chicago Cubs,” you are going to have to swallow a lot of juice to back the Cubs at this point. Current odds as of the All-Star break on the NL Central have the Chicago Cubs listed at (-10000), while the St Louis Cardinals sit at (+1 200) and the Pittsburgh Pirates are just behind that at (+2 500). The other two teams, Cincinnati Reds (+450000) and Milwaukee Brewers (+450000) have long been out of the race and will be selling off what little assets they do have by the end of July.
NL Central Outright Betting Pick
Take the Chicago Cubs to win the NL Central Division @-10000
This is not exactly a wager I'd be running to the window to make because of the steep price here, but there really is no other choice in this division besides the Cubs. Yes, the Cardinals and Pirates are only 7 and 7.5 games back respectively at the All-Star break, that gap appears to be too much for either to overcome against the talent the Cubs trot out there each night. It is baseball, and anything can happen during the final 2+ months of the year, but Chicago's youthful core gained very valuable experience last year in making a run to the playoffs and now they've got a more thorough understanding of what it will take to close out the year strong and claim the NL Central.
Led by the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Jake Arrieta, the Cubs are a team that can beat you in a variety of ways and will continue to pile up victories in the second half of the year. A league-best +139 run differential is likely only going to get bigger by the time September rolls around, and the Cubs still have a total of 20 games left against Cincinnati and Milwaukee. Those 20 games alone could easily be 15+ wins and with the Cubs not doing the “chasing” in the standings this year, the seven-game lead they've built at the break should be able to be maintained.
Now, Chicago's still got to take care of business in the remaining games vs. St Louis and Pittsburgh, but seven of their 10 against the Cardinals are at home and they won't have to go to Pittsburgh until the second-last series of the year when the division could already be locked up. That's a nice outlook if you are a Cubs fan.
Whether or not the Cubs can take a playoff run one step further this year and make the World Series remains to be seen, but Chicago should find a way to cruise into October as NL Central champions. If you aren't adverse to laying steep prices like the -10000 odds offered on Chicago, by all means make this bet, but there is always the option of letting the regular season play out and looking for spots to back the Cubs come playoff time at much better odds. Being the favourites for the World Series means Cubs prices this year will always be steep, but the +160 odds currently offered at Sports Interaction for the Cubs to win the NL Pennant and make the World Series does give you much more value than a -10000 bet does on them to win the division.
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