NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -8½ over Cleveland Cavaliers Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 7, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The Bulls received a wake-up call last week when they lost to Charlotte, but they have won two straight since including a win at Miami, so don’t expect another slip-up vs. Cleveland.

There could be a blowout in an NBA Central Division matchup Monday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-27, 5-15 away) pay a visit to the Chicago Bulls (18-13, 9-8 away) at the United Center in Chicago, IL at 8:05 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a decided favorite for this contest with the current line at -8½ with positive odds of +100.

The Bulls are currently second in the Central at one-half game behind the Indiana Pacers, and oddly the biggest problem has been their play here at the United Center as they are an excellent 9-5 on the road but just 9-8 at home! We do think that Chicago hit rock bottom by losing to the Charlotte Bobcats in their last home game last week though, enabling Charlotte to snap its 18-game losing streak.

That memory should prevent the Bulls from taking another team  lightly at home, which would otherwise be easy to do in this spot considering that they have already beaten the Cavaliers twice in Cleveland this season by 29 and 10 points respectively. Those winning margins actually appear to give Chicago good value here at home giving any single-digit number.

In keeping with their schizophrenic nature, the Bulls followed up that embarrassing loss to the Bobcats by winning their last two games on the road, first vs. the Orlando Magic and then more impressively vs. the Miami Heat in South Beach 96-89 on Friday. That makes this their first home game since the Charlotte fiasco and we look for the Bulls to respond in a big way.

After all, the two big wins in Cleveland were not flukes as the Chicago defense ranks third in the NBA in points allowed at 91.5 per game and seventh in field goal percentage against at 43.2 percent, while the Cleveland offense ranks 23rd in scoring (94.5) and a brutal 29th in field goal percentage (41.7). Also, the Bulls have now won the last 10 head-to-head meetings with the Cavaliers, and the last nine wins have been by a whopping average of +18.8 points.

Now believe it or not, the Cavaliers have won three of their last four road games with the only road loss in this time coming at the Brooklyn Nets, but before getting too excited, consider that the last two wins came vs. the two worst teams in the NBA in the Bobcats and the Washington Wizards.

The bottom line is that the Cavaliers are still in the single-digits in the victory column, and just like the first two meetings vs. the Bulls at home this season (115-86 and 95-85), this poor-shooting Cleveland team does not figure to get out of the 80s vs. the stout Chicago defense tonight.

As long as the Bulls do not take this game lightly, and we do not envision that happening after the Charlotte loss, then Chicago should win this game easily by double-digits.

[gameodds]5/133717/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Bulls -8½ (+100)

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