NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Tuesday.

One of the hottest teams in the NBA appears to have value as a home underdog Tuesday night vs. one of the best teams in the league when the San Antonio Spurs (46-16, 23-8 away) pay a visit to those Chicago Bulls (35-28, 19-11 home) at the United Center in Chicago, IL at 8:05 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a decided home underdog for this contest with the current line at +5 with odds of -108.

The Bulls are attempting two beat both teams in the NBA Finals last season in back-to-back games after knocking off the two-time defending champion Miami Heat 95-88 in overtime on Sunday here at the United Center. And as hot as the Bulls are right now, do not put that seemingly monumental task past them playing at home again!

We totally get that this will be a tall order, as the Spurs are back to their old selves again now that they are healthy, winning six straight games since a loss at Phoenix to reclaim the top seed in the Western Conference by one-half game over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that is not the only race they are involved in although they have managed to keep the Houston Rockets at bay while maintaining a 2½-game lead in the Southwest Division despite Houston being hot too.

Still, this seems like a lot of points to be giving in Chicago, as even if the Spurs do win this game, we do not anticipate this being a blowout. The Bulls have turned their season around winning 11 of their last 14 games overall and six of their last seven at home, and do not look now but Chicago is suddenly developing an offense to go along with its world class defense under defensive minded coach Tom Thibodeau.

The defense has been there all year long, which is typical of a Thibodeau coached team, as the Bulls now lead the NBA in points against at just 92.2 per game and are second in the league in both field goal percentage allowed at 43.2 percent and in defensive efficiency, trailing only the Indiana Pacers in both of those categories.

But the Bulls really started turning things around when their scoring picked up. Yes, Chicago remains dead last in the NBA in scoring at 93.1 points per game but that average has risen to 97.2 points over the last 10 games with the Bulls topping 100 points six times in that span after doing so just nine times in regulation time in their previous 53 games this season!

Now besides being hot themselves, the Spurs also have revenge in mind after losing 96-86 to these Bulls back home in San Antonio on January 29th. In fact, it was right after that game that San Antonio got hot again as it has gone 13-3 since then while averaging a whopping 106.6 points per game, moving the Spurs up to seventh in the league in scoring this season at 104.6 points overall.

However, that first meeting with Chicago was further evidence that the old adage of “good defense stops good offense” is usually true, as the 86 points the Spurs scored that game was their third fewest of the season. Granted they will probably top that figure here, but we do not expect them to come anywhere close to their overall scoring average either, not the way the Bulls play defense.

And that reason alone could be enough to give Chicago value getting this many points at home, as the Spurs’ offensive prowess as of late has covered up the fact that their defense has not gotten any better, allowing 101.6 points per game during the current hot streak, which is actually higher than the 98.1 points per game they are allowing for the season. Given that the offense does not figure to have its usual success, that defense is a concern vs. the Bulls’ improving offense.

Therefore, take the points with Chicago at home and do not be totally shocked if there is another outright upset on Tuesday.

[gameodds]5/258163/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Bulls +5 (-108)

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