NBA Betting: Bulls vs. Clippers

Jason Lake

Sunday, November 24, 2013 12:59 PM GMT

Derrick Rose is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in what was his good knee. Could this possibly help the Chicago Bulls beat the NBA odds Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Clippers?

Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to November 23 inclusive:

9-11 ATS

2-1 Totals

Hoo boy. The Chicago Bulls got some very bad news Saturday when PG Derrick Rose was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee. That’s not the same knee that kept Rose on the shelf all of last season, so things could be worse, but the former league MVP still has to go under the knife one more time. There is no timetable for his return.

It’s a lousy situation for Rose and the Bulls, but in this cold, cold world of basketball betting, his injury could be a very good thing for Chicago supporters. We’ll start finding out pretty quickly; the Bulls have a Sunday afternoon date (3:30 p.m. ET) with the Los Angeles Clippers, who spent their Saturday beating the Sacramento Kings 103-102 as 10.5-point home faves for our NBA picks.The early NBA lines for this matchup have Los Angeles favored by 6.5 points with a total of 195.

Most VulnRooterable Player

Of course, Rose wasn’t around last year when Chicago was bleeding cash at 45-37 SU and 36-46 ATS. But he was around for 10 games this year, and he wasn’t helping much – the Bulls went 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS with Rose in the lineup, and 1-0 SU and ATS without. That was when they went to Toronto and beat the Raptors 96-80 as 1.5-point road dogs.

We’ll look at that game in a moment. First, the ugly numbers on Rose, which I’ll list alongside his MVP numbers from the 2011-12 regular season:

2011-12: 24.1 points, 7.4 assists per 36 minutes; 23.5 PER, 13.1 Win Shares

2013-14: 18.4 points, 5.0 assists per 36 minutes; 10.6 PER, 0.0 Win Shares

Rose’s numbers this year are those of a back-up point guard, not an MVP. But we shouldn’t throw him under the bus like that – he was coming off a major knee injury, and Rose was definitely making strides after struggling through Opening Week. Having said that, Rose still wasn’t playing like an MVP by any means. His top Game Score of 16.3 (versus the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 16) would have been one of the worst 30 Game Scores of his 2011-12 campaign.

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The Hinrich Maneuver

As for the Toronto game, PG Kirk Hinrich got the starting assignment. It wasn’t his best game statistically (12 points, four assists, 9.1 Game Score), but Hinrich was as strong as ever on defense, including a pair of steals and a block. He was also one of five Bulls to score in double figures, as they dominated the Raptors in all of Dean Oliver’s Four Factors (shooting, turnovers, rebounds, FT/FGA) on offense.

Looking at this year’s plus-minus numbers at 82games, Rose has been a costly drain on the Bulls at minus-10.9, while Hinrich has been much less costly at minus-4.2. In short, Chicago has played better with Hinrich at point guard. How many people betting on the Bulls Sunday would believe you if you told them that?

Three Dukies

There’s one other injury we need to talk about: SF Jimmy Butler is out for the Bulls with a sprained toe. Butler (17.8 PER, plus-11.1) has been one of Chicago’s most useful players this year, and there will be a drop-off in overall talent with Mike Dunleavy (13.7 PER, plus-4.8) in the starting rotation. But from a balance perspective, Dunleavy gives Chicago a potent 3-point threat (51.6 percent this year) and opens up space for fellow Duke alumni Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer to do their thing.

The Clippers (9-5 SU, 7-7 ATS) are coming off a very physical game against the Kings, who fought back gamely after going down 20 points early. Chicago already has the third-ranked defense in the league (93.6 points allowed per 100 possessions). Now that Rose is out, the Bulls offense is free to play at a higher level, as well. This is an excellent spot to hit the NBA lines with a contrarian bet.

NBA Pick: Take the Bulls +6.5