Take Pacers -6 as Solid NBA Pick Over a Drained Bulls Team

David Lawrence

Friday, March 6, 2015 1:07 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 6, 2015 1:07 PM GMT

The Bulls continue to survive and thrive without Derrick Rose in the lineup. After turning aside the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, can they cash in as a road dog on the NBA betting lines?

The Chicago Bulls Can Win Because…
Their resilience was shown very clearly and powerfully in their win over Oklahoma City on Thursday night. The Bulls got 26 points from Nikola Mirotic off the bench, 21 from Pau Gasol, and 21 from Mike Dunleavy, Jr. Unheralded reserve E’Twaun Moore hit a game-winning three-pointer in the final three seconds for the win. Getting balanced contributions from unexpected sources as well as stars such as Gasol gave the Bulls enough to win.

Chicago is 7-3 in its last 10, and it’s important to note that the Bulls have been able to beat good teams during that stretch. This team has temporarily worked its way into second place in the Eastern Conference, which is exactly the opposite of where you’d have thought this team would move in the standings once Rose went down. Jimmy Butler is also out, but this team has become so practiced at the art of finding solutions which make it possible to work through injuries and other setbacks. You have seen the Bulls steadily get better and better on defense this season. Chicago has lowered its average of points allowed per game to 98.5. The Bulls had been allowing more than 100 points for the first few months of the season. This is a team that is doing anything but collapsing in the wake of two very significant injuries. What you also have to account for is that the Bulls are one of the stronger road teams in the Eastern Conference. Only the Atlanta Hawks, at 20-8, have a road record better than Chicago’s 19-10 among Eastern teams.

We put NBA picks from SBR cappers in one NBA odds report.

The Indiana Pacers Can Win Because…
They are learning how to play together again after struggling for so much of the season. It was only natural that at first, the Pacers would really struggle to score – they lacked both Paul George and Lance Stephenson. There was going to be a long adjustment period. However, coach Frank Vogel has done something very specific to change things up and get more out of his team. Very simply, Vogel put George Hill in the starting lineup a month ago, on Feb. 4. Since that point in time, Hill has averaged 14.5 points per game in 11 games. Rodney Stuckey, who had been starting, is playing better in a reserve role. Stuckey has averaged a team-leading 15.6 points per game since Hill went to the starting lineup. The larger pattern at work with Indiana is that the Pacers didn’t just have the George injury or Stephenson’s absence to deal with in the first half of the season. Indiana had Hill, David West, and Roy Hibbert on the shelf for various periods of time. Other players had to play more minutes, and that has given them more sharpness at this later point in the season. Indiana has gotten its injured players back on court, so this is a team on which minutes have been shared on a more equal level and more players know what they are supposed to do each night. That and a 9-2 record in the last 11 games will make Indiana a tough opponent, especially at home where they are a 6-point favorite on NBA odds.

 

Outlook
This is a tough spot to bet the Bulls. They overexerted themselves in the big win last night and now they have a quick turnaround to go on the road and face a Pacers team that’s playing their best ball of the season. Take Indiana as your NBA pick here.

Free NBA Pick: Pacers -6 at The Greek

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