The Association offers up just one game on its slate for tonight, the final game before the All-Star break, a Central Division battle between the Cavs and the Bulls. We'll tackle the side and total for a two-pick parlay.
Cavs-Bulls Betting Odds
The NBA odds opened this game at right around a pick 'em, with a total of 201.5. Many books then moved Cleveland to a two-point favorite in the early betting, and dropped the total to around 200.
After scuffling through a good part of this season Cleveland seems to have found a groove, winning 14 of its last 15 games. Wednesday night the Cavs beat Miami 113-93, covering as 12-point favorites. Cleveland led the Heat by 15 after one quarter and never let them get within double-digits after that. The Cavs shot 56 percent from the floor Wednesday, and held Miami to just 41 percent shooting. Sunday night Cleveland beat the Lakers 120-115, covering as a 14-point favorite. The Cavs shot 55 percent that night, and held LA to just 41 percent shooting.
Chicago has won three in a row, after downing Sacramento Tuesday 104-86. The Bulls only led by eight at the half, then opened the third quarter with a 19-4, and cruised home from there. Chicago shot 53 percent from the floor, and committed just seven turnovers. Just before that the Bulls won at Orlando 98-97 on a bucket with 10 seconds to go, and just before that they blew out the Pelicans in New Orleans 107-72.
Big-picture,at 33-20 Chicago owns the three spot in the Eastern Conference, three games behind second-place Toronto, while Cleveland, at 33-21, is in fourth place, a half-game back of the Bulls.
Cavs-Bulls Season Series, So Far
Cleveland has taken the first two meetings this season from Chicago, by scores of 114-108 in overtime back on Halloween and 108-94 three weeks ago. Neither team led that first game by more than 10 points, while Cleveland led the second meeting the whole way, by 25 at one point. That first meeting played OVER its total of 193 before the end of regulation time, while the second meeting played UNDER 206. Both teams shot just 42 percent from the floor in those two games combined.
Cavs-Bulls Key Stats
Cleveland ranks 10th in the league in FG shooting at just under 46 percent, 21st in FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot almost 46 percent.
Chicago ranks 20th in FG shooting at 44 percent but ninth in FG defense, holding foes to 44 percent shooting.
Cavs-Bulls Betting Trends
Cleveland is just 12-12 SU, 9-15 ATS on the road this season.
Chicago is only 14-11 SU, 9-16 ATS at home.
Cleveland has skewed toward the UNDERS this season by a 34-19 margin, even as Cavs games have averaged 201 points.
Chicago is 25-27 on the totals, as Bulls games have also averaged 201 points. Chicago has also played five UNDERS in a row.
For Cleveland, F Kevin Love (17/10 this season) suffered a scratched eye Wednesday night, and he is questionable for tonight.
For Chicago, G Jimmy Butler (20/6) hurt a shoulder Tuesday night, and his status for tonight is uncertain.
The Bulls got some good news, though, with the recent return of Mike Dunleavy.
Free NBA Picks for Thursday
Cleveland has taken the first two games from Chicago this season, and we like the Cavs to take tonight's game, too. Also, the Bulls might miss Butler on offense, so we're leaning toward the UNDER. Tonight our NBA pick will be a two-pick parlay on tonight's only game we'll go with Cleveland at a pick 'em and the UNDER 200.5 at The Greek.