NBA Picks: Take Stronger Bulls -3 To Bring Down Inconsistent Bucks

Jason Lake

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 12:58 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 12:58 PM UTC

The Chicago Bulls lost a tough game Monday night against Washington. On Tuesday, they'll visit the Milwaukee Bucks, who haven't beaten the NBA odds in four straight.

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NBA Pick: Bulls -3
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


Jason's 2015-16 record as of Jan. 11: 13-13-1 ATS, 4-1 Total


The Chicago Bulls have most of the component parts of a title contender. They've got two All-Star players in Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol. They've got two outstanding defensive bigs in Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, plus a quality two-way Euro in PF Nikola Mirotic. Put those five guys on the floor together, and the Bulls might be among the best teams in the NBA.

What's that? They need a point guard? Hmmmm. Well, Derrick Rose has been playing better lately, and Aaron Brooks has been a solid back-up. They're still not quite championship-quality, though, as we saw in Monday's 114-100 loss to the Washington Wizards (+8.5 away). Next up for the Bulls: Tuesday's game (8:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV) versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Chicago is a 3.5-point road chalk on our NBA odds as we go to press, with a total of 202.


The Tragically Hip
Good thing for the Bulls that Milwaukee (15-24 SU, 18-20-1 ATS) is miles away from competing for an NBA championship. The Bucks took a step back with their rebuilding program last year when they traded Brandon Knight to the Phoenix Suns in the three-way deal that brought Michael Carter-Williams (15.4 PER, –0.5 BPM) over from the Philadelphia 76ers. Then they compounded their error by sending a pair of draft picks to the Toronto Raptors for Greivis Vasquez (9.3 PER, –5.8 BPM), who's out long-term after having a bone spur removed from his ankle.

Carter-Williams hasn't been completely awful – you can see what head coach Jason Kidd sees in him. But you won't see Kidd doing his thing Tuesday night. He's on the mend after undergoing hip surgery on December 21; in his absence, the Bucks are 4-6 SU and 4-5-1 ATS for interim head coach Joe Prunty. That includes a 117-106 loss to the Bulls (–8.5 at home) on January 5.


A Tall Cup of Jo
Chicago (22-14 SU, 15-21 ATS) wasn't even at full strength for that game. Noah (15.0 PER, +3.5 BPM) was out with a bad shoulder, but he made his return Monday after a nine-game absence and played 19 minutes off the bench. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Noah missed all seven of his field-goal attempts, although he did contribute nine rebounds and four assists.

Noah's offensive game (–1.5 OPBM) has degraded to the point where he's more useful coming off the bench as a premium stopper. But he remains excellent at that job, and Chicago's strengths down low should be enough to stave off Greg Monroe (22.1 PER, +1.9 BPM) and the Bucks one more time. It'd be nice if Chicago had some more bench strength outside the paint, though. Getting Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (11.6 PER, 40.7 percent from downtown) off the injured list and on the floor might be enough to put the Bulls over the hump this year. Take Chicago as your NBA pick tonight.

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