Phillies Vs Braves Weekend Series Betting: Hamels Vs. Sheets Friday

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 02: Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies is welcomed home by Ryan Howard #6 of the Phillies after he scored on a sacrifice grounder by Chase Utley of the Phillies off of starting pitcher Aaron Cook #28 of the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Coors Field on August 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Cole Hamels begins life as owner of that huge contract, and he's expected to defeat the Atlanta Braves to kick off a crucial weekend series for the Phillies.

Do the Phillies have any life left in them? Are the Pirates going to break their long playoff drought? Who will win the NL West? Can the A's continue their run? And can the Red Sox stay alive?

We'll get at least partial answers to those questions this weekend as baseball wraps up action for the month of July with several important series.

The Phillies, winners of four in a row, are in Atlanta for three games with the Braves. Philly sits 9.5 games out of the second NL Wild Card spot, while the Braves own one of the two slots. As of Friday morning, Bovada is listing Atlanta as a -125 favorite to win this series, with the Phillies "getting" -105.

The Pirates, owners of the other NL Wild Card at the moment, are in Houston this weekend for four games with the Astros. Pittsburgh took the series opener Thursday night, 5-3, behind AJ Burnett, so it also remains just two games back of first-place Cincy in the NL Central.

Out west, the Dodgers hit San Francisco for three games with the Giants. San Fran leads the NL West by three games over LA, which just lost the last three games of a series in St. Louis. Bovada is listing the Giants at -180 to win this series, with the Dodgers getting +150.

The A's, winners of 16 of their last 19 games and owners of one of the AL Wild Card spots, are in Baltimore for three games with the Orioles, who are only a game and a half out of a playoff spot themselves. Bovada is chalking the O's at -125 for this series, with Oakland lined at -105.

And finally the Red Sox, 4.5 games out in the AL Wild-Card race, are in New York for three games with the Yankees. Boston has lost five of its last six games, so it's getting close to last-gasp time for the Sox. As of Friday a.m., Bovada is listing New York at -210 to win this series, with Boston getting +170.

Here's a look at Friday's complete MLB betting board, including starting pitchers and betting trends, with odds and prices from Oddsshark.com.

St. Louis -158 at Chi Cubs +153 - Lance Lynn (12-4) | Travis Wood (4-5) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone UNDER in five of St. Louis's last five games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the Cubs' last five games when playing at home against St. Louis

Oakland +101 at Baltimore -106, Total 8.5 - Jarrod Parker (7-4) | Zachary Britton (1-0) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: Oakland is 7-1 SU in its last eight games
The total has gone UNDER in five of Baltimore's last six games

Boston +157 at NY Yankees -162, Total 10.5 - Aaron Cook (2-3) | Philip Hughes (9-8) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Boston's last 13 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in new of the Yankees' last 10 games

Detroit +112 at Toronto -117, Total 9 - Rick Porcello (7-5) | Carlos Villanueva (3-0) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: Detroit is 4-1 SU in its last five games when playing Toronto
The total has gone OVER in four of Toronto's last five games when playing at home against Detroit

San Diego +126 at Miami -131, Total 8.5 - Kip Wells (1-3) | Carlos Zambrano (5-8) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: San Diego is 5-0 SU in its last five games when playing on the road against Miami
The total has gone UNDER in seven of Miami's last eight games

Philadelphia -104 at Atlanta -101, Total 7.5 - Cole Hamels (11-4) | Ben Sheets (2-0) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone OVER in six of Philadelphia's last seven games
Atlanta is 4-1 SU in its last five games when playing Philadelphia

Pittsburgh -142 at Houston +137, Total 8.5 - Jeff Karstens (3-2) | Jordan Lyles (2-7) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone UNDER in five of Pittsburgh's last five games
The total has gone OVER in five of Houston's last seven games

Chi White Sox +126 at Texas -131, Total 9 - Chris Sale (11-3) | Yu Darvish (11-6) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone UNDER in eight of Chi White Sox's last nine games when playing on the road against Texas
The total has gone UNDER in five of Texas's last five games at home

Cleveland +110 at Minnesota -115, Total 9 - Josh Tomlin (5-7) | Scott Diamond (8-4) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: Cleveland is 5-0 SU in its last five games when playing on the road against Minnesota
The total has gone OVER in five of Minnesota's last five games

Washington +120 at Milwaukee -125, Total 8.5 - Ross Detwiler (4-3) | Michael Fiers (3-4) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: Washington is 5-0 SU in its last five games
The total has gone OVER in five of Milwaukee's last five games when playing at home against Washington

Cincinnati -110 at Colorado +105, Total 10.5 - Bronson Arroyo (5-6) | Drew Pomeranz (1-5) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: Cincinnati is 5-0 SU in its last five games
Colorado is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games when playing at home against Cincinnati

NY Mets +129 at Arizona -134, Total 9 - Jonathon Niese (7-4) | Josh Collmenter (2-2) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone UNDER in five of the Mets' last six games when playing on the road against Arizona
Arizona is 6-1 SU in its last seven games when playing at home against the Mets

Tampa Bay +157 at LA Angels -163, Total 8 - Alex Cobb (4-7) | Dan Haren (7-8) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: Tampa Bay is 5-0 SU in their last five games when playing the Angels
The total has gone UNDER in five of the Angels' last six games when playing Tampa Bay

Kansas City +118 at Seattle -123, Total 7.5 - Jeremy Guthrie (3-9) | Blake Beaven (5-6) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of Kansas City's last seven games when playing on the road against Seattle
The total has gone UNDER in five of Seattle's last five games

LA Dodgers at San Francisco - Stephen Fife (0-0) | Matt Cain (10-3) | Matchup Report | SBNation MLB Odds
Trends: The total has gone OVER in six of the Dodgers' last eight games
San Francisco is 6-1 SU in its last seven games at home

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