NBA Picks: Bulls vs. Jazz

Jeff Grant

Friday, February 8, 2013 1:09 PM GMT

The Chicago Bulls will close out one of the more difficult back-to-back situations in the NBA, as they take on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Which team do we believe will pull through for our NBA picks tonight?


Let’s take a closer look at the betting market for this non-conference matchup that tips off from EnergySolutions Arena at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Where’s the defense?

Chicago has dropped back-to-back games by allowing a combined 239 points, including a 128-96 setback to the Denver Nuggets as six-point road underdogs Thursday night, while going OVER the total for the fourth time in five contests. The 128-point total is the most allowed by the franchise in the Tom Thibodeau era, which is significant due to ranking third or higher in scoring defense the last two-plus seasons.

There’s no place like home

Utah improved to 19-5 overall in front of its home fans with a 100-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks as 5.5-point favorites Wednesday night, which also moved its record to 7-0 when taking on Eastern Conference opponents in this building. The Jazz are 10-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 13 home games versus a team with a winning road mark.

Something about Friday night

When going over the NBA odds page, be sure to note that the Bulls have compiled a perfect 8-0 ATS record when playing on Friday nights this year. Chicago has won seven of those eight affairs in straight-up fashion, while the OVER is 7-1 in that situation.

Jefferson has been solid all year 

Al Jefferson has 24 double-doubles in 50 games this season, as he continues to be the Jazz’ leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He has managed to average 22.5 points and 11.3 rebounds in his last eight contests versus the Bulls. Jefferson is a big reason why Utah averages 100.4 points per game at home. 

Boozer will need to play lights out 

Carlos Boozer averaged 27.0 points and 8.0 rebounds against his former team last year, while the Bulls power forward continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a couple games earlier this month. He is only the 28th player in NBA history to average more than 10.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for each of his first ten seasons in the league.

[gameodds]5/217467/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their NBA betting picks Friday, as the UNDER is 5-0 when the Bulls have allowed 100 points in back-to-back games dating back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign. The Jazz have also fallen short of the number in five of their last seven home games versus a team with a winning road record.

NBA Pick: Under 186.5 at BetOnline