Matt's Take:



The season is halfway over, so by this point we should know who the pretenders and contenders are as the playoff races start to round themselves out.



While there is little question left about what teams will make the playoffs, there is still plenty of intrigue and speculation left as to how the postseason will play out.



Without further ado, here are you American League playoff teams (in no particular order): the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, and the Texas Rangers. Notice that there is no sign of the New York Yankees ó thankfully.



As the Wild Card and Divisional rounds play out, the Sox and Athletics will duke it out for the AL crown, which will go to the Sox in seven games.



The National League picture is a bit more unclear. Your playoff teams are the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals. Yes, you read that correctly. The Pirates are not only going to have their first winning season in two decades, but they are going to make the playoffs.



Don't call me crazy yet, but the Nationals and the Pirates are going surprise (to a degree) everyone and play for the National League Pennant. My call is Nationals in six games.



The Sox and the Nationals in the World Series? That's surely a far cry from my early season Angles and Dodgers picks.



Since the MLB season is so long, and truly unpredictable, it's very hard to fathom how things will actually pan out. So, how does this matchup play out?



With the Patriots days of relevance coming to an end and the Bruins collapsing in the Stanley Cup Final, the fans in Beantown will have a reason to cheer.



The Red Sox, thanks to home field advantage, squeak out a close series and take the trophy.



 



Andrewís take:



No more surprises. The disappointments have happened. We know the contenders.



Baseball is a game of chance, at least compared to football, basketball and hockey.



In the next year, you can bet on the Green Bay Packers, Miami Heat and Chicago Blackhawks.



But when it comes to Americaís pastime, save your money on preseason bets. Every April, we take measure of the teams that seem to have set up for a run to the World Series. We pay attention to the biggest off-season deals and any players who are set to peak.



But the statisticianís game, statistically, cannot be counted on.



Think about it, the best hitters in the league are successful about 30 percent of the time.



It just comes down to luck and chemistry.



Now that weíre past the All-Star break, we have a clearer picture of the competition.



The Baltimore Orioles are in a nice position, only a few games back, with the most talented team in the AL East. The Detroit Tigers are stacked and I donít think thereís any way they lose the lead in the AL Central. And the Oakland Athletics, over the last three years, have proven that their winning ways have longevity.



As far as the wildcards go, Iím going all East. The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays face-off.



Over in the league for real men, where they make the pitchers step in the battersí box, the Atlanta Braves are running away with the NL East. The St. Louis Cardinals are the best team in baseball, per usual. And the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally taking control of the AL West.



Again, for the wildcard teams, Iím going same division. The Pittsburg Pirates and Cincinnati Reds will play to start the playoffs.



In the end, Iím sticking with my pre-season pick. Iíve got the Dodgers over the Orioles in the World Series.



Place your bets!