Ride with Bulls Momentum Over Injured Cavaliers for Tonight's Series Opener NBA Picks

Nikki Adams

Monday, May 4, 2015 11:32 AM GMT

Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers get their series off the mark at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night. With NBA odds in full swing, here's our NBA betting preview and NBA picks.

Second Round Series Odds
The second round series between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers is firmly cornered in the latter's camp; matched at -235 NBA odds, the Cavaliers are clearly expected to advance into the next round, following a convincing first round sweep of the Boston Celtics. There are those NBA bettors, though, that believe this series is going to be a lot tougher for LeBron James and the Cavs to clinch convincingly, if at all. The Cavs are missing two of their starters, which doesn't bode well against a confident Bulls side that is coming off a convincing 120-66 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in game 6. In fact, the rout was nearly an NBA playoff record.

Of course, beating the Bucks is one thing, beating the Cavs, the Eastern Conference favorites across NBA betting boards, another thing. Reaching the Eastern Conference finals at the expense of the Cavs isn't going to be straightforward. That said, the Bulls can't be dismissed out of hand, even though they are the underdogs at +195 NBA odds  to clinch the series. They are looking better than ever before.  

 

Chicago Bulls At Disadvantage
The Bucks forced the Bulls into a game 6, despite the Bulls taking a 3-0 series lead. It's fair to say the Bulls dropped the ball in games 4 and 5. Then again, credit must be given to the Bucks for putting up a fight and refusing to go out of the NBA Playoffs without a whimper.

In any event, Chicago appeased their fans and assuaged any doubts in NBA betting circles by decimating the Bucks 120-66 in game 6. The crushing victory was four points shy of an NBA Playoff record for the largest margin of victory.

Inasmuch as it was a rough loss for the Bucks, it was a euphoric end to a tough series – tougher than initially predicted by NBA experts and odds makers alike – for the Bulls. They must be buoyed by that result and it should send them into this next series brimming with confidence, despite their underdog NBA odds for game 1, which ring in at +170 NBA odds or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice.

Bulls trailed Cavs 1-3 SU this season, but went 2-2 ATS against them. They are matched as the 5-point underdogs on the road in game 1.

Want a second pick for this matchup? Click here & check out what this capper has for you!

Cleveland Cavaliers Favored
Predictably, the Cleveland Cavaliers enter this series as the favorites, both in the series proper and in game 1, for which they are matched at -200 NBA odds to win outright. This market outlook is in tune to pre-NBA Playoffs futures markets where the Cavs were the Eastern Conference favorites to win outright and one of the top favorites to win the NBA Championship this season.

When the Bulls take to the floor, however, they'll have been twiddling their thumbs for over a week, since sweeping the series with the Celtics. They'll also be without Kevin Love, who's shoulder injury has ruled him out of the playoffs entirely. As well,  J.R. Smith, who is suspended for the first two games.

All these aspects conspire against Cleveland in this series, prompting some NBA bettors to question if their NBA odds are overzealous. Can they find momentum quickly enough against a hot Bulls riding the moment of the first round, let alone without two key players?

The simple answer is LeBron James. His ability to carry a team on his broad shoulders is second to none. If he imposes himself in this series as a whole, he can mask some of the team's flaws. Let's not forget, he's also got Kyrie Irving by his side. The pair were the second highest-scoring duo in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and if the pair shows up for this series in similar fashion, the Cavs could be in good stead.

 

NBA Betting Verdict:
As division rivals, with plenty of history between them, these two sides shouldn't disappoint. The contrasting realities add flavor to this series: the Cavs' injury woes vs. the Bulls' healthy bench.

In theory, this series could go either way. As far as game 1 goes, we're of the mind to back the upset on our NBA picks. Granted Cavs have home advantage and they'll be well-rested for this game, but maybe too well rested. Getting back into the swing of the NBA Playoffs after a long wait for the second round to get underway is never easy. The Bulls have undeniable momentum right now and they've got something to prove against their loftier divisional rivals. They are healthier and, as a result, appear deeper than the Cavs right now. Look for the Bulls to upset the NBA odds in game 1.  

NBA Picks: Bulls +170 at BetOnline

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