Bulls Beaten Down
It was sad to be a Bulls fan and be in attendance for this game, but Washington put their foot on Chicago’s throat from the start of the game, and despite several runs by the Bulls, Washington held on to take a 3-1 lead in the series. While I do think the Wizards could win this game, I am not quite ready to trust a young team like the Wizards to close out Chicago on the road. The Bulls played about as bad as they have played so far this series, and going back home should help them a lot.
The NBA Odds seem to agree with that statement, as they have the Bulls as -4 ½ favorites at home in this one, with a total of 183 ½. I think Chicago has one last win in them before the Wizards put them away, and considering that fact they didn’t win a game at home in the first two games of the series, Chicago should be extra motivated to get a win and cover here ATS.
While Mike Dunleavy was the Bulls’ savior in Game 3, Trevor Ariza must have taken offense to Dunleavy going off on him, because in Game 4 Sunday afternoon, Ariza had 30 points, and Dunleavy was a non-factor trying to defend him. Tom Thibodeau will not have as long a leash on Dunleavy in an elimination game, and if his defense is as bad as it was in Game 4, he will pull the plug for a much better defender in rookie, Tony Snell, or switch Jimmy Butler onto him.
The Sharp Pick
Chicago’s offense is going to get much better when they go home, and it probably can’t get much worse than in Game 4. The Bulls improve several points from their road to home scoring, and with their defense likely improving some behind the Bulls’ crowd, I think they can get the win and cover here to force a Game 6 in Washington.
Even with Nene coming back for Game 5 after his suspension, Thibodeau will not hesitate to pull Carlos Boozer off the floor in this elimination game in favor of Taj Gibson, who led all scorers with 32 points in Game 4, and was the only player who looked like he came to play Sunday afternoon. If Nene is working over the Bulls again, Gibson will play a lot more. Thibodeau will play his best players the entire game if he has to, and I don’t think Washington is ready for this kind of pressure just yet.
In the first two games of this series in Chicago, the Wizards scored over 100 points. I don’t think they’ll get there tonight, and it should lead to a Bulls’ win and cover for our NBA picks. I see this line as a complete trap by the sportsbooks, trying to get people to take points and the moneyline on the Wizards. Washington has dominated Chicago so far, but the Bulls’ play so much better at home, especially after a loss SU and ATS. I think the books are begging you to take points in this game, and I’m not falling into the trap.
My Pick: Bulls -4 ½