NBA Picks: 76ers at Bulls Game 2 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/30/2012
I know many Chicago Bulls fans and I can tell you that all made a new friend on Saturday afternoon: Guy by the name of Jack Daniels.
Of course, I am referring to the fact that many a Bulls backer needed a little something to help them forget what happened Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Rose went down with a little over a minute left and the game seemingly not in doubt for Chicago. It looked bad right away and it was: the reigning NBA MVP tore his ACL and is done for this year (including Olympics) – and very possibly for the start of next season. Rose had 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists when he was injured, but he just couldn’t stay healthy this season. Perhaps the cramped schedule was to blame.
Why Rose was in the game at that point has led some to question Coach Tom Thibodeau. And certainly some wonder whether Rose will ever be the same player because his game is all about quickness. The good news is that nowadays ACL surgery isn’t considered a huge deal. But you never know.
Chicago, the NBA’s No. 1 overall seed, had been the second-favorite to Miami to win the NBA title, but now the Bulls have been dropped from 7/2 heading into the playoffs to 9/1 and now behind the Thunder, Spurs and Lakers in addition to the Heat. On the series price with Philly, the Bulls still remain big -600 favorites heading into Tuesday night’s Game 2.
76ers at Bulls Betting Story Lines
It will be interesting to see how Chicago reacts immediately to this. Do the players come out and give a max effort to prove they can win without their star? Or is everyone so depressed that the Bulls put up a stinker and allow the Sixers to tie the series?
The Bulls were 18-9 during the regular season without Rose, including victories over playoff teams Miami, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia. But those were just single games, not a series where a team can make adjustments. C.J. Watson will start now at the point. He averaged 9.7 points, 4.1 assists, 2.1 rebounds and nearly a steal per game in 49 games this season, including a career-high 25 starts. John Lucas III also will see heavy minutes now – he was a DNP-Coaches Decision in Game 1. Lucas had four 20-point games this season and shot 39.9 percent from three-point range.
Watson and Lucas III combined for 25.5 minutes per game in games Rose played this season. When Rose was out, the duo combined for 48.2 minutes per game and scored nearly 22 points per outing. With Rose out of the lineup, the Bulls outscored opponents by 8.2 points per 100 possessions, compared to 10.6 with him. That's still the best efficiency margin in the league. In three games against the 76ers during the regular season, the Bulls were 11 points better per 100 possessions with Rose off the court, including one game that Rose did not play (an 89-80 home Chicago win March 17).
The Bulls will rely heavier on Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng for offense – Deng, remember, is playing through a non-shooting wrist injury that will require surgery at some point. Deng was terrific defensively on Philly’s Andre Iguodala in the opener, holding him to 11 points and 3-for-11 shooting. Boozer was mostly invisible in Game 1 with nine points.
The Sixers should have the clear advantage at the point now. Jrue Holiday had 16 points and seven rebounds in close to 36 minutes of Game 1. But Lou Williams, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, shot just 1-for-6 in the opener. Clearly those guys won’t have to exert the same defensive effort on Watson/Lucas that they would have had to vs. Rose, so expect a big bounce back for Williams especially.
It ‘s possible that Philly Coach Doug Collins will make a change to his starting lineup for Game 2 as he got virtually no production from starting guard Jodie Meeks in Saturday's loss. Evan Turner played 29 minutes, 30 seconds in place of Meeks and scored 12 points and had five assists. Meeks was pulled from the game just seven minutes in and didn’t return until there were just three minutes left and the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Also, Collins started rookie second-round pick Lavoy Allen at center over Spencer Hawes and rookie Nikola Vucevic (who didn’t play at all). Even though Allen sprained his thumb in Game 1 (X-rays were negative), Collins said he will stick with the rookie, who had four points and six boards in 20 minutes. Allen is a better rebounder/banger than the other two and that’s needed against the Bulls, who led the NBA in rebounding.
76ers at Bulls Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Bulls opened as 6.5-point favorites with the total at 176, according to NBA odds – it was Chicago -8.5 and 175 in opener. The Sixers were 33-32-1 ATS overall this season and 16-16-1 on the road. Bulls were 38-27-1 ATS overall and 17-15-1 at home. ‘Over/under’ records: PHI 30-36, CHI 31-34-1.
The Sixers are 2-7 ATS in their past nine games after a loss. They are 4-10 ATS in their past 14 games as a dog. Chicago is 5-0 ATS in its past five as a favorite. The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their past five games after scoring 100 points or more in the previous game. The over is 6-0 in Philly’s past six after a loss. The over is 11-1 in Philly’s past 12 after an ATS loss. The over is 9-1 in Chicago’s past 10 games against teams with a winning record. The home team has covered in five of the past seven in this series.
NBA Picks: 76ers at Bulls Betting Predictions
Obviously it’s hard to know which Chicago team shows up. If this were in Philadelphia, I would expect a Sixers win after such a devastating injury for the Bulls. But being at home and wanting to prove they are still a viable contender, I expect a strong early effort for the Bulls. However, 6.5 points is too many. So take Philly and the points and the over.
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