NBA Picks: Shade Mavericks & 'Under' at Home Against Surging Bulls

Darin Zank

Saturday, December 26, 2015 3:45 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015 3:45 PM UTC

Chicago just played Scrooge to Oklahoma City, but now must come back just a day later for a tough game at Dallas. Might this be a good spot for a fade play against the Bulls for our NBA pick?

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NBA Picks: Dallas -3.5 & UNDER 201.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Saturday's NBA odds opened the spread on this game at Dallas -3.5 over Chicago, and that number was holding steady in the early betting. Also, books were holding off on posting a total on this contest, possibly due to a key injury with the Mavericks.


The Situation
Chicago (16-11 SU, 10-17 ATS) just snapped a three-game losing streak, upsetting the Thunder in Oklahoma City Friday afternoon 105-96. The Bulls opened the game with an 11-0 run and never trailed from there, leading by 18 through three quarters, hanging on from there for the outright victory as 10-point dogs, cashing in at upwards of +460 on the NBA moneyline.

Chicago shot 44 percent from the field Friday, and held OKC to just 39 percent shooting.

Prior to that victory, though, the Bulls had lost three straight, to Detroit, New York and Brooklyn. And that loss to the Nets came as 10-point favorites.

Dallas (16-13 SU, 17-12 ATS), meanwhile, is alternating wins and losses over the last couple of weeks, after outlasting those same Nets in overtime Wednesday night 119-118. The Mavs led by 16 in the first half, fell down by 11 in the second half, but rallied and won it on a Dirk Nowitzki bucket with 20 seconds left.

On the night Dallas shot 55 percent from the floor, and hit 16-of-34 from 3-point land.

Tuesday the Mavs lost at Toronto 103-99, while four days before that they beat Memphis 97-88. So that's six games in a row Dallas has bounced from victory to defeat.


Recent History
These teams have split their two-game series each of the last two seasons, each team winning twice on the others' home court. Last year Dallas won in Chicago 132-129 in double-overtime, while six weeks later the Bulls won in Big D 102-98.

That first meeting played OVER a total of 203 even before overtime, while the second meeting played UNDER that same total of 203.


Totals Trends
Chicago is 16-10 on the UNDERS this season, as Bulls games have averaged 200 points.

Dallas is 15-14 on the UNDERS, as Mavs games have averaged 202 points.


Injury Update
Dallas G Deron Williams popped a hamstring earlier this week, missed the last game and is very questionable to play Saturday night.

On the other side of the scorers' table Chicago is still playing without 3-man Mike Dunleavy, and now F Joakim Noah is sidelined with a sore shoulder.


Final Analysis
Chicago is coming off a big road win at OKC 24 hours ago, so we consider the Bulls candidates for a letdown Saturday night. Dallas is also coming off a big effort, but that was three days ago, so they've had time to recover. We like the Mavs, the home team at a short spread, for our NBA pick in this spot. Also, these teams played one high-scoring game last year, but the recent trend in this series has leaned the other way. We could see this game turning into a grinder.

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