Bite on the Total for Cubs vs. Dodgers Series Opener

Willie Bee

Friday, August 1, 2014 1:28 PM GMT

Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 1:28 PM GMT

The red-hot Dodgers welcome the Chicago Cubs to Los Angeles for a weekend series, and SBR is following the set with previews and free MLB picks for all three games.

Big swaps dominated the baseball headlines the past couple of days as the trade deadline came and went for another season. The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't take part in the wheeling and dealing, however, and considering how well they're playing right now, who can blame them for standing pat.

They will get a chance to continue that fine play the next few days with the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles for the weekend. As the disparity in the standings between the two old rivals might suggest, this should be a fairly one-sided series on the MLB odds and the numbers for Friday night's opener (10:10 PM ET) certainly bear that out.

Dan Haren, with 337 MLB starts under his belt, opens the set for the Dodgers opposite Chicago's Kyle Hendricks, who will be making just his fourth big league start. Los Angeles is drawing chalk in the -190 to -200 range, SBR's live baseball odds showing 7 for the total.

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Cubbies Begin 6-Game Road Trip Through NL West
Chicago (45-62, -10.6 units, 55-47-5 O/U/P) can at least celebrate the fact it is no longer the doormat of the National League. The Cubs just wrapped up a long homestand by taking three of four from the Rockies, dumping Colorado into the basement of the Senior Circuit with the teams set to meet again in Denver next week.

With a major league career that has spanned all of three games and less than 20 innings, the only trend that has developed for Hendricks is he enjoys pitching at Wrigley Field more than away from the Windy City's North Side. The 24-year-old righthander made his debut in Cincinnati on July 10, going six with four runs charged to his ledger in a no-decision the Cubs eventually won, 6-4. Hendricks following that up with two fine performances at home, allowing just one run in 13.1 IP vs. the Padres and Cardinals.

An 8th-round pick by Texas in 2011, Hendricks is only the 17th Dartmouth alum to pitch in the big leagues, and first since Mike Remlinger hung 'em up in 2006. He was 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Iowa before being called up before the break.

Check Out the National League West Odds Update!

Dodgers Hold 2-Game Cushion For Top NL Record
Los Angeles (62-47, +2.8 units, 50-54-5 O/U/P) just completed a sweep of the Atlanta Braves to build a 6-game win streak that pushed the team to the top of the NL standings by two games over Milwaukee. Pitching has been key for the Dodgers during the current run, LA arms limiting the Giants and Braves to 11 runs combined in the back-to-back broom jobs.

Haren has had a few extra days to prepare for this one, and Don Mattingly's decision to plug the righty in for Friday's matchup means Hyun-Jin Ryu will get an extra day of rest himself before taking the mound Saturday. July was a month to forget for Haren, the Dodgers losing all four of his assignments while he imploded with a 9.47 ERA in 19 innings.

The former Pepperdine star saw the Cubs once last season while he was part of Washington's rotation, and earned the win at Wrigley with a 6-IP, 1 ER effort. The Dodgers are 5-4 in his nine LA this year, Haren pitching to a 3.40 ERA.

There's nothing in the weekend forecast to worry about, with plenty of sunshine, temps reaching the mid-80s for a high the next few days and the two night games starting off in the upper-70s. Bettors will want to monitor the SW winds that are in the mix, those 5-10 mph breezes blowing out to right field.

The correct play here is the Dodgers, but I can't lay $2 on Haren right now and have been burned the last two nights playing LA on the run line. Instead, I'll bite on the total for my free pick and play the high side of that mark.

MLB Pick: Cubs-Dodgers Over 7 (+110) at Bodog sportbook

Season: 94-94 (-0.30)

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