Celtics vs. Bulls: Defensive Lock Makes 'Under' Our NBA Pick

Charles Stark

Thursday, January 7, 2016 12:20 PM GMT

Let's take a close look at the Celtics vs. Bulls rivalry, as we tell you how to bet this game. Don't make a move without reading this betting preview, and you get our free NBA pick on the total.

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NBA Pick: Under 203
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

NBA odds have come out with the total for this game at 204. This line makes sense, especially with the pace both teams run and Chicago's recent offensive onslaught. Still, for my selection of the day I like for the defenses to step up and keep this game under 200 points.

 

Boston Celtics
Boston is averaging 102.9 points per game while shooting 43.5% from the field, and allowing 99 points per game on 42.9% shooting from the field. Offensively they really push tempo averaging 88.4 shots per game which ranks second in the league, and tonight they face a team that defensively allows teams to shoot more shots than any other in the league. Offensively the Celtics spread the floor and like to shoot beyond the arc averaging 27.4 attempts per game, they have also been really solid moving the ball averaging 23.8 assist per game which ranks fifth in the NBA. Slowly but surely Boston is starting to become a contender in the East, and within the next few years they will have a serious shot at the title in my opinion. Defensively they are playing much better than last year ranking eighth in defensive scoring, fifth in opponent shooting percentage, and third in opponent three point shooting percentage. They are starting to build the philosophy that is becoming prevalent in the NBA and that is the ability to shoot and defend from distance. Because of their pace and tempo normally this would have had me leaning on the over, but looking at their defensive statistics overall this is a team that can get out and get stops, which I expect them to do tonight.

 

Chicago Bulls
Chicago is averaging 102.2 points per game while shooting 43.6% from the field and allowing 100 points per game on 41.8% shooting from the field. Recently they have been on an offensive surge scoring a lot of points in their last several games and going 8-2 hitting over the total in their last 10 games. Overall offensively they are very similar with Boston in that they like to push tempo, with Boston ranking second and Chicago ranking third in shot attempts per game, and shooting percentage, where Boston shoots 43.5% from the field and Chicago 43.6%. The Bulls do shoot beyond the arc percentagewise better than the Celtics at 36.3% compared to 32.6%, but they don't attempt as many at just 21.5 per game. Defensively is the foundation of this under the total pick and Chicago gives me good reason to believe they will hold Boston to a reasonable score. The Bulls rank first in the NBA in opponent overall shooting percentage and two point shooting percentage, and eighth allowing just 33.3% from beyond the arc. One troublesome spot to go against them in taking the under is that they do tend to allow teams to get up and down the floor as they rank last in the league in opponent field-goal attempts per game, but they make up for those attempts in their overall defensive play.

Tempo makes me a little wary of backing the under, but after breaking this game down for one of your NBA picks I recommend going ahead and taking under the total.  Defensively these two teams have played very well this season and should highlight this matchup tonight.