Betting Bulls vs. Cavaliers: Pick 'Under' When Defenses Collide in Cleveland

Charles Stark

Monday, May 4, 2015 12:20 PM GMT

Monday, May. 4, 2015 12:20 PM GMT

A playoff matchup that I think a lot of NBA fans have been waiting for starts today as the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Chicago Bulls.  With the recent upswing of defense for both teams I am taking the under the total in this first game of the series.

Interesting number
NBA odds makers have come out with a total of 194 for this game. I thought that was interesting because in their four matchups on the year these teams averaged just over 200 points a game. The fact that this line looks low is telling that the odds makers are under the impression this first game will more of a defensive, low scoring battle than some anticipate.

Just because there's a short slate tonight doesn't mean there's no value!

Matching intensity
The Bulls have been one of the best defensive teams this season. They ranked second in the league this in both opponent field goal percentage at 43.2% and opponent three point shooting percentage at 33.3%.  In the last three games of the playoffs they have followed that same trend allowing 38.3% (ranked 1st) from the field and the same 33.3% from beyond the arc. This does not surprise me that their numbers have been about the same because Thibodeau is simply one the best defensive coaches in the game.  The most surprising thing from the playoffs so far for me was the strong defense Cleveland played against the Celtics.  On the year they were ranked in about the middle of the league in most defensive categories.  But in the last three games of the playoffs the Cavs are ranked 2nd behind the Bulls in opponent field goal percentage at just above 40% and ranked 1st in opponent three point percentage at 22% in that same time span.

On top of the defensive stats both teams in their last three games are shooting the ball a little less than they averaged on the year at 162 shots per game compared to their season average of 165.  Both teams I believe understand the value of playing great playoff defense and the stats are showing just that. My play is on the under 194 and I recommend you add it to your daily NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Bulls vs Cavaliers to go under 194 at BetOnline

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