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A big reason for the Chicago Cubs' early success has been due to their dominance of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs try to remain perfect against the Pirates in 2008 as they look for a 10th straight victory over them when the teams open a weekend series Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Chicago -148 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 93% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -148 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Chicago (25-16) beat San Diego 4-0 on Thursday for its second straight victory to take three of four from the lowly Padres. Now, the Cubs, who have won six of seven on their 10-game homestand, look to improve to 7-0 on the season against Pittsburgh (20-21), which has been swept in its last two trips to Wrigley, most recently April 18-20.

"They thumped us up there," Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche told the team's official Web site of the club's last visit to Chicago.

The NL Central-leading Cubs, who are 17-7 at home, outscored the Pirates 29-9 in that series at Wrigley and head into this set after recording 13 hits against San Diego on Thursday.

Aramis Ramirez had three hits, while Alfonso Soriano had two and recently acquired Jim Edmonds went 1-for-4 in his Cubs' debut.

"It's definitely exciting," said Edmonds, who signed with Chicago on Wednesday after being released by the Padres last week. "Being in first place, a lot is on the line every day."

The Cubs hope Soriano can stay hot after he went 8-for-19 with three homers and six RBIs in the series with the Padres. Ramirez, meanwhile, is batting .357 (10-for-28) with two home runs and eight RBIs against the Pirates in 2008.

Part of the reason for Chicago's success against Pittsburgh this season has been its ability to pound the Pirates' scheduled starter Tom Gorzelanny (3-3, 5.97 ERA).

The left-hander, who's a native of Chicago's south suburbs, is 0-1 and allowed 14 runs through five innings over two starts against the Cubs this season. Gorzelanny, who is 2-3 with a 6.06 ERA lifetime versus Chicago, bounced back after missing a start due to tightness in his lower back by allowing two runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-2 win over Atlanta on Saturday.

"I think the back issue is hopefully behind us now, but I thought he did a great job," Pirates manager John Russell told the team's official Web site.

Despite its recent struggles versus Chicago, Pittsburgh has won eight of 10 after rallying for an 11-5 win at St. Louis on Thursday to take two of three from the Cardinals.

Nate McLouth hit his 11th home run and Jason Bay added a three-run, pinch-hit homer to highlight a four-run eighth inning for the Pirates, who trailed 5-1 after four innings.

"We know we're in the game until it's over," Russell said.

McLouth is hitting .304 on the season and .346 with a homer and five RBIs against Chicago in 2008.

The Pirates get their first look at Chicago's Sean Gallagher (0-0, 6.48) as a starter when he takes the ball. Gallagher, who replaced Jon Lieber in the Cubs' rotation, allowed four runs, five hits and struck out six in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-4 victory over Arizona on Sunday in his first major league start.

The 22-year-old right-hander made 10 career relief appearances prior to his start Sunday, including one against the Pirates. He allowed a run in 1 1-3 innings of relief in an 8-4 loss at Pittsburgh on July 6. Bet this game.

Here are some top trends for today's game:

- 5 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season .

- CHICAGO CUBS is 6-0 (+6.0 Units) against PITTSBURGH this season

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