Bad Blood Brewing
The ejection by Nene was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen, on top of being one of the biggest game changers of this season. With less than 10 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, Nene’s absence completely turned around the Wizards, and even more so, it set off Jimmy Butler and the Bulls.
Now the Wizards have a one game lead, and the NBA Odds have them as -2 ½ favorites on Sunday afternoon, with a total of 182. While the spread is a bit enticing, the total seems to have all the value. Even though this is a matinee contest, the over might be one of the better plays of the day.
The over has now cashed in all three meetings between these two teams, and the main reason has been the Bulls’ defense and how tired they are. Chicago is not the defensive juggernaut from late February and early March. They have logged big minutes, and are showing signs of wear and tear.
However Butler’s emergence in the 4th quarter was huge for this team, but right now Chicago needs his offense just as much as his defense. If Butler gets engaged in Game 4 in Washington, it could be a long night for young, Bradley Beal on the other end of it.
With the bad blood brewing, the fouls could be harder in this game, but it just means the referees will call this game tighter, and call fouls on everyone and everything. That will lead to more free throws, and the game getting longer. I’m assuming it will stay close throughout, and that should lead to a higher scoring game, and for the over to cash in four straight.
The Sharp Pick
Washington is content with playing fast and letting the Bulls have some extra possessions. They are much more athletic than Chicago is, and I think that’s another reason why we could be seeing the Bulls’ defense give up so many points. Washington’s offense is very diverse when Nene is on the floor and isn’t in the locker room, and with so many options, it’s hard for the Bulls to narrow their sights in on one or two guys.
If Washington wouldn’t have fallen apart in the third and early fourth quarters of Game 3, the score might have been even higher. The big defensive style game of this series is coming, but I don’t think it will be this game. This is simply a bad matchup for the Bulls defensively, and 182 points is a little too undervalued for me.
A game that stays close and has plenty of foul calls is a recipe for the over. The total is already starting to go up at certain sportsbooks, so before yours raises it above 182, get on the over in your NBA Picks.
My Pick: OVER 182