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Chicago a strong bet to finish, not to start

Handicapper Alex Smith is a Chicago native, but he won’t be on the Blackhawks today. However, he still likes them and the Boston Bruins to win their respective divisions and meet for a rematch in the Stanley Cup Finals.

MLB wild-card wizardry: Hamilton, Salazar could be key

Major league teams start spring training in February, grind through 162 games — or 163, for Texas and Tampa Bay — and if they’re lucky, reach the playoffs. For wild cards, it’s a chance to become a World Series champion. Or have a whole season’s worth of work wiped out in nine innings.

NFL betting: Houston backers get Schaub-ed

A stand-up comic searching for new material might want to look to the Houston Texans and their clumsy quarterback, Matt Schaub, whose latest football-throwing folly is worth a lot of laughs. “That was a joke,” said Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill sports book director. “That’s unbelievable.”

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