NBA Picks for Bulls vs. Suns

Jason Lake

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:17 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 12:17 PM GMT

The Chicago Bulls just got beaten up by the Sacramento Kings. They’ll be playing on zero days of rest when they try to beat the NBA odds Tuesday night against the highly profitable Phoenix Suns.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 3 inclusive:

59-43-1 ATS

14-13 Totals

The Chicago Bulls will not to go gentle into that good night. But maybe, just maybe, the long grind of the NBA season is finally catching up to their depleted roster. The Bulls got pushed around by the young, big and nasty Sacramento Kings on Monday night; Sacramento won the game 99-70 as a 1.5-point home chalk, out-rebounding Chicago 53-30 in the process.

That sets up Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, who have the most profitable record in NBA betting at 29-18 SU and 32-14-1 ATS. Chicago might look like a strong fade candidate in this situation, playing the second of back-to-back road games and facing a hot Suns team that hasn’t played since Saturday. And that may indeed be the case. But the Bulls have their pride, and they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games on zero days of rest. No tanking allowed.

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Joakim the Giant

The loss to Sacramento snapped an eight-game zigzag streak ATS for the Bulls (23-24 SU, 20-25 ATS), although it did extend their UNDER streak to five games. Monday also saw center Joakim Noah (19.1 PER) get tossed from the game in the third quarter after getting called for a loose ball foul while wrestling with DeMarcus Cousins. Noah flipped out at the officials and had to be gently guided toward the dressing room. It’s possible he could be suspended for using abusive language. Zut alors! But any punishment new commish Adam Silver hands down will presumably take effect after Tuesday’s contest (9:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV).

Which will give Chicago at least one semi-rested player for this matchup. Noah only played 19 minutes against the Kings; so did Kirk Hinrich (9.6 PER), who was mercifully given an early hook after shooting 1-of-8 and missing all six of his trey attempts. There’s not much bench strength on this team now that Derrick Rose is injured and Luol Deng is in Cleveland, so it was wise for head coach Tom Thibodeau to give the veteran guard a break before having to play Phoenix.

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The Power Twins

It probably won’t be enough. The Suns opened as 6-point favorites on the early NBA lines, and quickly moved to –7 as the Bulls were getting hammered. We’re still waiting for the first consensus numbers to roll in as we go to press, but my Internet spies tell me that the initial action was heavy on Phoenix to cover.

It’s not easy to bet against a team that’s 5-0 SU and ATS in its past five games, and has defeated the NBA-best Indiana Pacers home and away in the past two weeks. The Suns looked like they were in trouble after Eric Bledsoe (20.0 PER) was injured and they started 2014 at 3-6 SU and ATS. Instead, All-Star snub Goran Dragic (22.3 PER) has played even better, and Phoenix has gotten mostly competent play at the 2-spot from Gerald Green (15.2 PER) and the returning Leandro Barbosa (12.1 PER).

The Suns have also seen an uptick in play from the Morris Twins, Marcus (15.9 PER) and Markieff (18.9 PER). Their game has evolved under new head coach Jeff Hornacek, who’s wisely encouraging them not to take so many long-range 2s. Markieff’s minutes in particular have increased recently, which could be very helpful on Tuesday if Channing Frye (15.3 PER) misses the game after sitting out Monday’s practice for undisclosed personal reasons. Either way, Phoenix has a lot more gas right now than the Bulls. Crank that sucker up.

NBA Pick: Take the Suns –6.5 at The Greek

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