NBA Picks: Underestimated Bulls +6.5 To Cover vs. Rockets

Joe Catalano

Thursday, March 31, 2016 3:42 PM GMT

The Chicago Bulls are 2 games behind the Indiana Pacers for the 8th and final playoff spot and the Houston Rockets are tied with the Mavericks and Jazz. This game is huge; find here our NBA pick.

 

BetOnline Sportsbook is the first book to come out with the odds as the status of Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose is up in the air, but both players are expected to play by the look of the NBA odds boards. The Rockets are a 5 point home favorite and the total for this game is a whopping 214.5.

 

Playoff Implications
One would expect both Rose (probable) and Gibson (questionable) to play as everything is basically on the line. Neither of these teams have played well, but .500 appears to be good enough to get into the post season. The Bulls are in a deep 2 game hole behind the Pacers and the Rockets, who are actually a game below .500, are in a better position in the Western Conference as they're in a 3-way tie for the two final playoff spots and mathematically speaking, that's a 2/3 chance.

From a Houston Rockets perspective, they're coming off of a 106-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers as they received a huge break as Lebron James didn't play in that game. Houston has won 2 out of their last 3 games, also defeating a very respectable Toronto Raptors team 3 games ago, 112-109 as James Harden led the way with 32 points. For the Rockets to win this game, Harden will need to be at his best as he'll be the best player on the court.

For the Bulls, Jimmy Butler (21 points per game) and Pau Gasol (16.6 ppg, 11 rpg.) will be the key players, but Gasol has not played well in almost a half a month. In his last 10 games, the Spaniard is averaging just 10.8 points per game. On the flip side, Gasol has managed to grab 9.4 rebounds and dish out 5.4 assists per game. Chicago will need Pau to step up. He's gotten less playing time this season and his numbers reflect that.

 

Lack of Desire?
I've heard this many times when pertaining to Derrick Rose, who was once a NBA League MVP. Rose has endured a ton of injuries and some people have thought that he's lost his motivation for the game. He's getting the minutes (32mpg.) and I certainly don't think that Rose has lost his motivation. It's just a matter of what his body can handle? He's listed as probable tonight and should play, but is coming off of a 8 point performance against Indiana in which he shot just 4 for 15 from the field.

In fact, in his last 3 games, he's shooting an abysmal 16 for 54 from the field. I don't know if injuries can be attributed to this, but he need's to regain his old form as the Rockets are weak at point guard and this would be a matchup that D. Rose can capitalize on. Look for a bounce back effort from the Chicago native.

 

Fear the Beard?
His game might have taken a slight drop, but James Harden is still one of the best players in the NBA. His numbers look really good at 28.6 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.4 rebounds per game. Some players love him, but players such as Dwight Howard think that Harden is selfish as his amazing numbers haven't equated into a winning season. I look for James Harden to have a monster game at home as he looks to penetrate to the hole and draw fouls.

 

Outcome
The betting lines started off at 6 and has dropped to 5. I see this being a close game as the ultimate goal is to win the game and the betting spread doesn't come into play in the player's minds.

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Free NBA Pick: Chicago +6.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker