Bulls & Knicks To Go ‘Over’ Again Is The NBA Pick For Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 24, 2016 3:07 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 24, 2016 3:07 PM UTC

The Knicks and Bulls combined for 222 points in the first half of a home-and-home series in Chicago last night, so expect another relatively high scoring game in New York Thursday.

In the back end of a home-and-home series that began with a shootout last night, look for yet another high scoring game relative to the posted total in the rematch Thursday night when the Chicago Bulls (36-34, 29-41 ATS) this time pay a visit to the New York Knicks (29-43, 38-34 ATS) at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY at 7:35 ET in a game available on MSG.

The posted total at Pinnacle is 203 for this contest with the current NBA odds on the ‘over’ set at -102.


No Defense was Played Wednesday
The Bulls had been 3-0 on their four-game home stand that completed last night and they had won nine straight games at home, but the lowly Knicks caught them by surprise and ended all that with a 115-107 upset win as nine-point underdogs. The Bulls scored those 107 points despite getting only 49 points from their starting five, as reserve Nikola Mirotic had the game of his life scoring 35 points of the bench while shooting 9-for-13 form beyond the three-point arc.

The Knicks had been the losing NBA picks in three games in a row entering Wednesday while averaging a mere 84.7 points over those three losses, but they exploded by shooting 51.7 percent from the field overall (45-for-87) including going 14-for-25, 56.0 percent from three-point land! Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony combined for 53 points while shooting 7-for-12 from downtown.


Playoff Hopes Took a Hit
The unexpected loss by the Bulls last night could prove costly as it knocked them out of the playoffs as of right now, one game behind the tied Detroit Pistons and Indian Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That is disappointing for a team that was expected to be the biggest challenge to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Central Division before the season.

Still, the good news is that the Bulls get an immediate chance for revenge tonight in New York and while they do not expect to get 35 points from Mirotic again, they could probably count on more that just 49 points from the starting lineup this time around, especially from All-Star Jimmy Butler after he uncharacteristically scored just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting last night.

Now, the Chicago defense has not been as stout this season in the Bulls’ first season under Coach Fred Hoiberg as it was during the Tom Thibodeau era as it is allowing 103.0 points per game. Still, the Bulls were especially bad last night so an improved effort on that end could be expected also, although that may not be enough to prevent another ‘over’.


Higher Scoring Games at Home
Now, the Knicks do not figure to match last night’s shooting performance as they are 26th in the NBA with their 98.7 points per game, but their home games have been a bit more higher scoring as they average 99.7 points at Madison Square Garden and we see no reason why they cannot again crack the 100-point mark given the state of the Chicago defense, a defense that has allowed over 100 points in seven of the Bulls’ last eight games.

This stretch includes games were the Bulls allowed 118, 117 and last night’s 115 points respectively.

Also, Anthony has had some of his better games vs. the Bulls this season as Carmelo is averaging 23.7 points on an even 50.0 percent shooting in the first three meetings with Chicago this 2015-16 season, and he has been on a roll vs. all competition from downtown lately, making 15 of his 27 three-point attempts over the past six games. Now, he has some help with the previously slumping rookie Porzingis breaking out of his funk last night.


An ‘over’ Head-to-Head Series
Finally, while the 222 total points scored Wednesday may have been an aberration, the ‘over’ was not as it is now 6-1-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these teams overall as well as an identical 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings here in New York. The ‘over’ is also 21-5 in the Bulls’ last 26 road games vs. teams with losing home records and 6-1 in the Knicks’ last seven games vs. teams with winning records overall.

These teams will probably not score 222 points again here, but with this posted total set about 19 points lower than the actual point-output of last night, look for those ‘over’ trends to continue for at least one more game when the Chicago Bulls wrap up a home-and-home series by visiting the New York Knicks on Thursday.

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NBA Pick: Bulls, Knicks ‘Over’ 202.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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