UFC 256 — the last pay-per-view of the year — features a familiar headliner in Deiveson Figueiredo. He just main evented the previous UFC 255 and now has a 21-day turnaround in his next title defense. Tony Ferguson is also in action in the semi-main event. We preview both fights, plus offer betting advance in advance of the December 12 card!
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World Series Futures
Expert Baseball Picks
By Eric Uribe
Chicago Cubs (+225)
The Cubs are in the same place where they started the season, as the odds-on favorites to finally end their championship curse and hoist up a World Series title. Chicago was the lone MLB team to hit the century mark in wins, totaling 103, to cruise as the National League's top seed.
However, history isn't exactly on the Cubs side. Nevermind they haven't won a championship since 1908. Rather, in the past three decades, only six teams that won the most regular season games ended up winning the World Series.
Good thing Cubs general manager Theo Epstein is no stranger to ending curses and building dynasties. After winning two World Series with the Red Sox, Epstein has built a near perfect team in Chicago in five years.
The strength of the Cubs begins with their star-studded infielders, which includes Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant. Chicago made history when all four infielders were selected to the All Star, an MLB first since 1963.
Both Rizzo and Bryant are legitimate MVP contenders. Rizzo belted 32 home runs and 109 RBIs, while the second-year Bryant smashed 39 out of the park and drove in 102 runs.
As good as the Cubbies are in the infield, they're every bit as great on the pitching mound. Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester are two Cy Young candidates with 2.13 and 2.44 ERAs, respectively.
There seriously might not be a chink in the Cubs armor. Not one.
Pick: Cubs To Lose World Series
Texas Rangers (+500)
The favorites to come out of the American League have to be the Rangers. Texas won its second consecutive AL West crown after winning 95 games.
The first thing that comes to mind with the Rangers is its offensive firepower. With a lineup led by Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre, Texas can put up runs with the best of them. Rangers finished the regular season with the seventh most runs scored in the majors.
Texas also has two ace pitchers they'll be able to lean on in Cole Hammels and Yu Darvish. Hammels has proven he can pitch in the postseason at an elite level. He won both the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP back with his former team Philadelphia. While Darvish doesn't have the same playoff experience, a career 3.29 ERA is nothing to scoff at.
However, the Rangers pitching staff depth falls off significantly after Hammels and Darvish. A smaller rotation that comes with playoffs baseball helps their cause, but it remains their weakness heading into October.
Pick: Rangers To Lose ALDS
Boston Red Sox (+600)
David Ortiz's farewell tour has been the story of the Red Sox season and what better way to end Big Papi's storied career than with a championship? The Disney-esque storyline isn't exactly farfetched, either.
For one, Ortiz has is going out with a bang. The 40-year-old averaged .315 this season, along with 38 home runs and 127 RBIs. Ortiz is part of the best lineup in the whole league. No team scored more runs than Boston's 878 — 33 runs more than the next best team. Ortiz is one of five players on the team with 20 home runs to his name.
We know October baseball is more about pitching than offense, however, Boston may be the exception to that rule. The Red Sox's offense, which has a knack for getting on base and doubles (both MLB highs), is enough to chase pitchers off the mound.
Don't be surprised if Ortiz ends his career on top.
Pick: Red Sox To Win World Series
San Francisco Giants (+2000)
Well, it is an even year. Of course, the Giants have won the World Series each of the past three even-years — 2010, 2012, and 2014.
However, San Francisco has struggled mightily since the All-Star break, going 30-42. But a four-game winning streak to end the regular season has them peaking at the right time.
The Giants will have to top the reigning NL champion Mets in New York on Wednesday in a one-game playoff to even have a chance to repeat history. This is not an unfamiliar scenario for San Francisco, who won the wildcard game in 2014 en route to a World Series ring.
Pick: Giants To Lose NLDS
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