MLB Baseball - Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs (-108, 7.5) 7:00 PM EST
Philadelphia has won eight of 10, including a sweep of plummeting Pittsburgh over the weekend. Chicago won a pair of series against Central division teams on the road, and has lit up the win column in seven of their last 11 games.
The Phillies have been receiving good starting pitching from all the youngsters they were forced to bring up, and are now within 3.5 games of thefirst place Mets.
The Cubs are within half a game of melancholy Milwaukee for first place and actually lead the Brewers by a game in the loss column.
The opening tilt of the four game series involves a pair of left-handed starters who each have 11 wins on the season. The Phillies won early series two games to one and are 5-2 at Wrigley Field the last two seasons.
Why Phillies win - Philadelphia is taking on a different look as the National league's top scoring team with Chase Utley out of the line-up with broken hand.
Manager Charley Manuel was forced to jostle batting order and his team responded over the weekend with SS Jimmy Rollins in particular swinging a hot stick (7 hits).
Cole Hamels (11-5, 3.63) will try to get the Phillies off to fast start on the road where they are 26-26 (+2 units). Philadelphia is 14-7 when Hamels is the starter and he has kept damage to a minimum not walking more then two batters but once in his last 11 starts.
The Phils bats continue to stay hot and they are 30-14 against the money line with an on base percentage of .375 or better over their last 10 games over the last three seasons. Ryan Howard and company are assaulting the NL Central with 19-9 record.
Why Cubs win - The acquisition of Ted Lilly (11-4, 3.46) in the off-season raised a collective yawn from Cubs fans, yet the 31-year old has been nothing short of remarkable for the North Siders.
Lilly has won his last seven decisions and has a 2.77 ERA since June 15, giving up 17 earned runs over 55.3 innings.
Chicago is sizzling hotter than the burgers and hot dogs at Murphy's Bleacher Bar beyond centerfield with 23-9 mark since June 22. Philadelphia is 10-23 against the ML as an underdog of +100 to +150 this season.
Chicago is a -108 favroite at sportsbook.com.
Pick - Chicago is only 27-24 (-8.6 units) at the "friendly confines", however are 12-4 in last 16 at home. Both teams are playing solid baseball, thus a superior system gets called into action to make this selection.
Play Against road underdogs like Philadelphia with a money line of +100 to +150,which are strong offensive teams scoring 5.3 runs a game against a good starting pitcher (ERA<=3.70) in the NL, with a mediocre bullpen whose WHIP is 1.450 to 1.550 on the season.
The system is 38-10, 79.2 percent including 4-0 the last three years.
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