NBA Picks: Trail Blazers vs. Bulls

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:43 PM GMT

While both teams are struggling for their own respective reasons, the Blazers and Bulls face one another tonight from the United Center. Where should bettors look for the best value for their NBA picks?

The NBA Odds favor Chicago at  -5 and a total of 188. Neither team had to play last night on a busy Wednesday, so who and what should we back tonight to cash a winning ticket for a short card on Thursday?

[gameodds]5/222202/43/us[/gameodds]

The Return is close

It could be tonight, it could be tomorrow, or it couldn’t come at all this season. Either way, the city of Chicago is on edge awaiting the chosen one to return. The Blackhawks may be the story of Chicago this season, but the return of Derrick Rose is increasing in excitement by the day.

The original timetable or mid March is here, and it would not surprise me at all to see Rose suit up tonight. He probably won’t play more than 12 minutes or less, but it will be a welcome sign for Bulls fans that have waited the better part of an entire calendar year to see him play again.

Tonight against the Blazers, the Bulls are solid favorites, in a place they haven’t been cashing in hardly at all this season. Chicago is only 10-23 ATS at home this season, but they have been improving in that area ever so slightly.

They could also be getting a lift from some other areas of their roster currently injured, and they need all the help they can get. Taj Gibson seems almost ready to take the court, which will take a ton of pressure off of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Also more importantly, Kirk Hinrich seems to be almost ready for a return to action, after his most recent layoff. If both of those guys play on Thursday night, I really like the chances of the Bulls covering. Chicago is making money this season with Hinrich in the lineup.

Blazers out of gas

This same phrase can be placed on the Bulls as well, but with absolutely no bench production this season, the Blazers are worn down and out. After going 3-9 SU in the month of February, the month of March isn’t much better at 5-5 SU.

All five Portland starters average 30 minutes a game, and all of their big four average over 35 minutes per game. That would be all right if some other guys were picking up the slack, but no Portland bench player is averaging even 15 minutes a game. Tonight against the defensive minded Bulls, Portland may have a lot of trouble scoring the ball. The Blazers are averaging 95 points per game on the road this season.

Take a look at our NBA Picks: Thursday Night Teaser Plays for a few extra plays to add to your betting ticket.

The Sharp Pick

Against the West this season, the Bulls have been about as bad as they are at home overall. Therefore, I am laying off a pretty sharp spread, as I think that the total holds better betting value instead. The Bulls are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and they get even better at home. Chicago is holding their opponents to under 90 points per game when playing at the UC, and I can’t see a tired Blazers coming in and scoring too much.

On the flip side, the Bulls can’t score the ball this season to save their own lives from a South Side mugger, so I do not foresee much offense here tonight, making the under the play. The Bulls are cashing the under at home this season at 22-11, and the Blazers are at the point where against good defensive teams, their offense struggles. 

Against the league’s top five defensive teams this season, the Blazers have only averaged scoring 92 points per game, and they shouldn’t get much more than that against the Bulls.

My NBA Pick: UNDER 188 at 5Dimes