Bucks vs. Bulls NBA Picks: Milwaukee to Cover in Game 2 but Bulls Earn the 'W'

Nikki Adams

Monday, April 20, 2015 5:23 PM GMT

Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls renew hostilities tonight in Game 2 of their first-round series of the NBA Playoffs. Can the Bucks level the series or will the Bulls build on the momentum of their winning performance in game 1? Here's our prediction, complete with NBA picks.

Chicago Bulls Mean Business
If game 1 were any indication, NBA betting fans might want to consider the Chicago Bulls as one of their sleeper NBA picks in the NBA playoffs proper. Up and running with a 1-0 lead, they are just three wins away from the next round and coming through on our NBA predictions to win the series in four straight games.

The Bulls burst out of the gates on Saturday with the intensity and concentration of a matador wearing down his victim for the kill all while giving NBA betting fans a display of just how potent a threat they could be in the playoffs as they took the opening game 103-91 over the young Bucks.

Derrick Rose emerged as the key player of the game. The former MVP channelled the form of his heyday in only his sixth game back from a meniscus tear, accounting for 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting and seven assists.

Of course, it wasn't just Rose doing all the heavy lifting. Jimmy Butler deposited a team-high 25 points and six assists, to underscore his All-Star credentials, while Aaron Brooks played a part with 13 points, including a bank-stealing 3-pointer that lifted the Bulls to the 30-29 lead at the tail end of the first quarter and made the highlight reel.

Overall, the Bulls were better in just about every facet of the game. Their offense picked apart the Bucks' defense while their defense did the job to shutdown the Bucks' offense. Although they committed 19 turnovers, they rebounded 52-41, with Paul Gasol grabbing 13 and Noah and Mirotic splitting 11 each.

Here's another capper's take on tonight's Bucks vs. Bulls matchup 

Milwaukee Bucks Nery Start
The Milwaukee Bucks' nervy start to the postseason was highlighted by offensive struggles and defensive breakdowns, leaving NBA aficionados somewhat unimpressed by their account. They shot just 39 percent from the field, 25 percent from three and 65 percent from the free throw line.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams barely struck an audible chord in their postseason debut. The former went 4-of-13 shooting for a paltry 12 points while the later went 4-of-13 for a measly 9 points. OJ Mayo might well have stayed on the bench for all of his 1-of-7 effort and six points.

Overall, the prognosis isn't favorable for the Bucks ahead of Monday's Game 2. Their offense needs to be more efficient and their defense needs to shape up if they hope to make a fist of it against the Bulls.  It doesn't help that their season woes against divisional foes Bulls (0-4 SU) have materialised in the playoffs.

 

NBA Betting Verdict
After Game 1, the narrative is all about the Chicago Bulls and whether this is finally the season they take the Eastern Conference title. Already, their overall NBA odds have shortened on the NBA betting board, moving down from +1200 to +1100 to win it all. In the Eastern Conference they remain the third favorites at +550 NBA odds to clinch the title.

As far as Game 2 is concerned, NBA betting markets are wholeheartedly leaning towards the Bulls. They emerge as the significant home favorites at -390 NBA odds to win outright and as the 8-point home chalk.

Game 1 saw the Bulls cover as the 8-point home chalk in the 103-91 win rather comfortably, all while snapping a six-game losing streak in the playoffs going back to 2013. Overall, the Bulls improve to five straight wins and they'll be looking to extend that winning form at the United Center tonight. Most NBA bettors are confident they'll do just that.

The Bucks, matched at staggering +310 NBA odds, are the long shots to win on your NBA picks. The lessons learned in game 1 will be valuable and might encourage  a better account from them this time around on both sides of the ball. It's tempting to consider the upset because everybody loves a competitive series, but backing the upset when the Rose-inspired Bulls are playing so well though is a stretch.

Where the Bucks might register is against the spread. The Bucks went 46-36-1 ATS on the season, which includes a league's second best 26-15-1 ATS record on the road. Whittling it down further: as road underdogs, they went 20-12-1. That makes them the league's third best road underdog by the stats.

Not all the games are going to be as convincing as game 1, surely. What's more, Rose can't possibly keep up the pace he set in the opening game throughout this series. If the Bucks play up to their opponents, they could keep it closer than the odds makers would suggest.

NBA Picks: Chicago win -390; Bucks cover +8 at BookMaker

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