Will the Bulls pick up yet another win tonight? They've been on a roll in recent weeks and now take on a Celtics team that's playing its second gamee in as many nights. Where's the NBA betting value?
There's no question about it: the Bulls are locked in as one of the heaviest favorites of the NBA betting odds schedule for Saturday. Only the Spurs (-19 against the 76ers) are laying a higher number.
As of now, we can find a total of 206, signalling that we should be in for a high-tempo, back-and-forth game. We know Boston has offered little to no resistance defensively, and they'll also be playing their second game in as many nights, so they could also have heavy legs.
Since mid-December, the Bulls have been on a roll, going 8-1 over their last nine games. The team's only loss came at home against the Nets in what was simply a complete offensive letdown. However, Chicago immediately bounced back after that defeat to beat Denver 106-101 at home back on Thursday.
Once again, Jimmy Butler took over offensively, scoring 26 points to go with eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block. Pau Gasol had a 17/9/4 line (with NINE blocks), Derrick Rose had 17 points and eight assists, while both Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich chipped in double-digit scoring off the bench. It seemed like everyone was getting in on the action against the defenselss Nuggets.
But, back to Butler. He's really elevated his game this season and has quickly emerged as one of the best all-around players in the league. Butler is growing in confidence by the day, and his growth, coupled with the rest of the talented Chicago roster, makes Tom Thibodeau's crew a scary proposition to deal with for opposing teams.
The Celtics are sitting at 11-19 overall this season, having gone 3-9 on the road and 8-10 at home. Coming in they've gone 4-6 over their past 10 contests, though more recently they've lost five of their past six contests, meaning they're not going to be loving their chances against the red-hot Bulls.
Boston hung around with Dallas at home last night for a little bit, but ultimately lost 119-101. Once again the Celtics were terrible defensively, as they allowed former teammate Rajon Rondo to inflict his will - the point guard scored a season-high 29 points (with five threes) to terrorize his former team. Meanwhile, Boston shot 42.7 percent from the field, with Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Tyler Zeller each scoring at least 17 points.
For now, it looks like Brad Stevens will continue to roll with Evan Turner as his starting point guard over Jameer Nelson and Marcus Smart, but it's an arrangement that seems to be fluid. That kind of rotation instability is worrying from a handicappers' perspective.
There's no other way around it but to say this is a terrible spot for the Celtics. They got crushed last night and now have to turn around and travel to the Windy City to play a Chicago team that's won eight of its last nine games overall.
Boston is still figuring things out after the departure of Rajon Rondo and they've been very poor out on the road, where they're just 3-9 SU this season. The Bulls haven't been as dominant as we'd like to see at home, but they won't really have to be to get past this young Celtics squad.
With our NBA picks for Saturday evening, we're not going to overthink it. We look for the better team to win out and pull away with relative ease before too long. Chicago is playing great team basketball right now and their fully healthy team is only going to get more and more efficient the more they play together. Back the Bulls as heavy chalk tonight, but don't forget to enjoy the game!
Free NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -11 at 5Dimes