With their third straight win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants’ magic number to win the NL West and clinch a postseason berth is done to one.

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The Giants needed the Chicago Cubs to come up with yet another win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night and that’s exactly what happened, as the Cubs knocked off the Friars, 1-0. With San Diego’s loss, San Fran now has a three-game lead over their division rivals, with three games left to go.

Things may be decided very quickly in the NL West, as the Giants host the Padres this weekend for a three-game set. Matt Cain will take the hill tomorrow night and if he pitches as well as he has over his past seven starts, the G-Men will be popping champagne come Friday night.

Cain is 4-0 in his last seven starts, which includes a 7-3 win over the Padres on September 9. He went eight innings in that game, allowing just three runs on five hits and striking out eight. He’ll be opposed by Clayton Richard, who is 1-4 in his last six starts, which includes a 1-0 loss to the Giants on September 10.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Giants –160 favorites on the moneyline for tomorrow’s game, while the over/under total has been set at 6.5 runs. The key, however, may not be tomorrow night’s game, but Saturday and Sunday’s.

If the Giants win, pay close attention to what Bruce Bochy does with his lineup because he may opt to rest most of his starters in preparation for the postseason. The Giants will have clinched the West and a playoff berth, but they’re still battling the Reds for the second spot in the National League. If they edge Cincinnati out, they will have home field advantage throughout the NLDS, so they may continue to play their starters.

If they go with a scrub lineup, a couple of moneyline wagers on the Padres could be in order considering they’ll still be fighting for their playoff lives. (They would have lost the West, but would still be alive for the Wildcard if the Braves lose to the Phillies.)

Keep a close eye on all the action this weekend.

Bet 2010 MLB Future Odds

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