This is going to be one of the more entertaining games of the night. Will James Harden and the Rockets protect their home turf against the Bulls and cover the NBA odds?
Right now, the Rockets are favored by 3.5 points and that's because they're at home. They're 16-7 on their own court this season and now find themselves as the favorites in the NBA odds.
We should be seeing a high tempo to tonight's game, which features a total of 204.5. Both of these teams are ranked in the top 10 in terms of average points scored per game, so offense shouldn't be an issue.
The Rockets were gunning for their fifth straight win when they took on Detroit, but they were unable to get the job done. Granted it was Houston's third game in four nights, so tired legs were a factor, but that still didn't excuse a terrible effort on the defensive end of the court. The Rockets were just fine offensively, but let the Pistons shoot 50.0 percent on their way to 114 points.
James Harden went off again, scoring 26 points to go with nine assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block. He got help from the likes of Donatas Motiejunas (21 points) and Trevor Ariza (15/6/3), but the Rockets had no way of stopping anyone on Detroit from scoring at will. Detroit's backcourt duo of D.J. Augustin and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 56 points, so you have to give a lot of fault to Harden and fellow guard Patrick Beverley, along with the rest of the backcourt rotation, for their poor defensive effort.
One thing to consider though: the Rockets are going to be nice and rested for tonight's game, as they've been off since that loss to Detroit on Saturday. Tired legs won't be an issue for Harden and company, and they're going to want to get back on track after that defeat, especially now that they're back at home.
If we go back a couple weeks, we see the Bulls were on a great run. They went 3-1 in a gauntlet of games that saw them play San Antonio, Dallas, Miami and Golden State, with the one loss coming to the Heat, surprisingly enough. However, Chicago was unable to keep that momentum up, as they fell to the Lakers and Suns in consecutive road games.
If you can believe it, the Bulls have been off even longer than Houston, with their last game coming all the way back on Friday. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler had 45 points between them, yet Chicago still wasn't able to execute enough down the stretch against Phoenix.
Still, if you're a Chicago fan, you have to be very excited about the possibilities this season. The Eastern Conference is a lot weaker than the West and they seem to be as healthy as they have been all year. This seems to be a good time for them to go on another run. We've seen that Chicago appears up for tough challenges, as evident by the win over the Warriors recently.
As good as the Rockets have been, we really like the Bulls in this spot. We think they'll win straight up, so we're more than happy to back them as underdogs on the spread.
Chicago has dropped two in a row heading into tonight, which was a letdown after that great road win over Golden State, but we anticipate Tom Thibodeau's team to show up in this spot.
With everyone getting healthy again, the Bulls are going to be just fine. We're not going to overreact to their poor play as of late and instead will look to capitalize on the lines. Make Chicago your NBA pick while they look to come in and make a statement.
NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls +3.5 at BetOnline