NBA Picks for Mavericks vs. Bulls

Steven Suarez

Saturday, December 28, 2013 2:43 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 2:43 PM GMT

They've been playing better recently, but will the Bulls be able to get the better of Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs tonight?

Odds Overview

Opening NBA odds show the Mavericks favored by two points on the road. Dallas comes in at 16-13 SU and 15-14 ATS, with Chicago at 11-16 SU and 10-17 ATS.

You can find the O/U at 193 for now. The OVER has gone 17-12 in games involving the Mavericks this season, though the UNDER is 16-11 in matchups featuring Chicago. Which trend will shine through tonight?

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Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have been struggling lately. They've gone 3-5 SU (4-4 ATS) over their previous eight contests, with wins over Houston, Memphis and Milwaukee and losses to San Antonio, Golden State, Phoenix, Toronto and Sacramento.

In the loss to the Spurs two days ago, Dallas couldn't keep up with San Antonio in what ended up being a shootout.

The Mavericks shot 45.9 percent overall (29.4 percent from three and 77.4 percent at the charity stripe), but allowed the Spurs to shoot 49.3 percent overall and 43.8 percent from the line. San Antonio also got to the line 42 times in their impressive road win.

Individually speaking, Dirk Nowitzki stood out with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Monta Ellis put up a line of 23/6/3, DeJuan Blair posted a double-double (14/11) against his old team, and Vince Carter scored 20 points in just over 26 minutes off the bench.

Now a visit to Windy City awaits. Dirk and company have struggled on the road, going 5-9 straight up, though they've fared better against the spread at 8-6.

Chicago Bulls

Two consecutive wins have been welcome relief for the Bulls. They had lost four in a row, including two bad home losses to Toronto (77-99) and then Orlando (82-83).

Bounce-back victories over Cleveland (100-84) and Brooklyn (95-78) have lifted confidence though. The Bulls covered the spread in both and have now cashed in three games in a row for their loyal backers.

On Christmas Day, Chicago was dominant despite being away from home. They kept the Nets at bay offensively, holding them to a miserable 35.2 percent overall while forcing 17 turnovers.

Six different Bulls scored in double figures, led by Taj Gibson's 20 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer combined for 24 points and 14 rebounds and Jimmy Butler posted a nice all-around line of 15/5/4.

Though the Bulls have been disappointing this year – injuries to Derrick Rose and Luol Deng certainly haven't helped – they're not just going to mail it in. Not with Tom Thibodeau on the sidelines. Let's see if they can rise to the challenge against a sound Dallas squad tonight.

NBA Pick

Having lost three of four, the Mavs need a win to re-gain some momentum. Conversely, the Bulls will try to keep spirits high with a third straight win.

What's the best NBA betting value in this matchup for our free NBA picks?

We like Chicago to continue their little resurgence with a win at home. We know the Bulls are always going to play hard regardless of who's out injured, but the recent returns of Butler and Hinrich are a huge boost to the team's depth. The Mavericks have struggled to find their best form outside of Dallas, so let's back the Bulls, who have covered in six straight games in this series, to secure the victory.

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