NBA Picks: Take Road Dog Wizards To Beat Bulls In Eastern Conference Rivalry Game

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, January 11, 2016 7:02 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 7:02 PM GMT

The Washington Wizards travel to Chicago for this 8:00 ET tipoff vs. the Chicago Bulls. Who will be our NBA pick in the first meeting of these Eastern Conference rivals?

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Free NBA Pick: Washington Wizards +8
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls (-8) 8:05 ET
The Washington Wizards travel to Chicago for this 8:00 ET tipoff vs. the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. This is the first meeting of the year for these Eastern Conference rivals. Last year, these teams split 4 games against each other with each team winning a game on the home court of the other. The 2 contests on this floor saw Washington win by 6 and Chicago win by 5. I anticipate another taut battle between these teams tonight, as the Wizards look to qualify for the Playoffs and the Bulls continue their quest in tracking down the Cleveland Cavaliers for the best record in the East.

 

Potential Threats
The Chicago Bulls continue their makeover in a year of transition between long-term HC Thibodeau and current HC Hoiberg. The offensive propensity of Hoiberg is certainly evident, as the Bulls are now averaging over 100 PPG. But, they are also allowing 98 PPG, a meaningful difference from the defensive orientation of Thibodeau. Tonight, Joakim Noah returns from a 9-game absence as a result of a shoulder injury. Though he has lost his spot in the starting lineup and is averaging less than 5 PPG (a career low), he remains an outstanding defender. Chicago has won 5 straight games on this court without Noah. A microcosm of their interior woes would be the 66 paint points allowed in the 15 point loss at Atlanta on Saturday that snapped the Bulls’ overall 6-game winning streak. HC Hoiberg admits that they have slipped a bit on the defensive side of the ball.

Chicago will certainly need to be concerned with Marcin Gortat. He is an interior force who was recently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. But, the key matchup on the floor may be that of point guard, a quickly aging and often injured, Derek Rose, will have his hands full with Wizards’ lead guard, John Wall, who comes off a game which he had 24 points and 10 assists in a (105-99) win at Orlando. Though Wall has been a bit careless with the basketball in recent games, the Bulls force only 12 TOs per game, among the lowest in the league. Even without leading scorer, Bradley Beal,(out for the last 15 games), Washington is still keeping in touch with the final playoff spot. While much of the ink flows to Rose, Washington’s greatest concern might be Jimmy Butler, who is averaging 29 PPG in his last 6 games.

 

Betting Analysis
This figures to be a close, hard-fought game, despite the differential in the standings. For the Wizards have played their best ball on the road, where they are a respectable 8-8 SU (only 4 Eastern Conference teams are over .500 on the road) and are 4-1 ATS as a road dog of 6 or more points. The underachieving Bulls seldom go out of their way to bury a team. Although Chicago is 16-5 SU at home, they are just 4-11 ATS (-4+) as home chalk. 

I invite you to put the NBA odds in your favor and join me with my NBA pick on the Washington Wizards.

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