Free NBA Picks: Bulls at Cavaliers Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/29/2013
The Chicago Bulls lucked into winning the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery and took point guard Derrick Rose first overall. The Cleveland Cavaliers lucked into winning the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery and took point guard Kyrie Irving first overall. Sounds like a great potential individual rivalry with the teams in the same division, doesn't it? Yet, because of a myriad of injuries, mostly to Rose, the two have faced off just once in their careers. And with Rose done the rest of this season, that number won't increase until sometime in 2014. So Saturday's game loses a lot of its potential allure.
These two teams also could be trade partners before the February deadline. The Cavaliers have a gaping hole at small forward. Chicago management says it's not going to tank the season just because Rose is out, but what are they supposed to say? It makes all the sense in the world to start selling off parts and hope for a lottery pick in the loaded 2014 draft. Then perhaps you have a nice piece to put with Rose, Jimmy Butler (out injured himself but will be back in probably a week or two), Joakim Noah and European stud Nikola Mirotic, who is likely to be brought to the NBA this summer. Also, Chicago has the Bobcats' first-round pick this year if it's not in the Top 10. That's looking somewhat likely because Charlotte is improved and the Eastern Conference is so wretched.
Bulls all-star small forward Luol Deng is a free agent after this season, and it's clear Chicago will let Coach Tom Thibodeau's favorite player walk. He happens to play the No. 1 position of need for Cleveland. The Cavs have a shooting guard named Dion Waiters, the No. 4 overall pick of 2012. He has been mostly a bust but still has a high ceiling at 21. There are already talks the team is shopping him -- ESPN reported the Cavs are talking to the Bulls, Knicks (Iman Shumpert) and 76ers (Evan Turner) because Waiters doesn't get along with Irving and nearly fought teammate Tristan Thompson recently. If the Bulls got Waiters, they could slide Butler to small forward, where he belongs. Cleveland could perhaps win a playoff series with Deng, and the Cavs need to look as good as possible this year to try and entice LeBron James to sign with the club this summer. Getting Deng now would be an advantage because the Cavs would be able to give him more than any team this summer and James respects Deng. Other contracts would have to be involved because Deng makes around $10 million more this season than Waiters.
Bulls at Cavaliers Betting Story Lines
Chicago never plays well on its annual Circus Trip, but this clearly has been the worst one ever, which ends in this game. The Bulls were 6-3 entering the trip, and Rose was starting to play well. They lost in Denver on Nov. 21, which is never an easy place to win. The next night they were killing a good Portland team before Rose went down, and Chicago lost. Predictably, the distraught Bulls were slaughtered by the Clippers in their next game and then hit rock bottom on Monday with a loss at Utah, the worst team in the NBA. Chicago did regroup to win at Detroit, 99-79, on Wednesday. Deng upped his trade value with a season-high 27. He's averaging 24.3 points per game on 52.2 percent from the field in the past three games. He's about the only offense the team has minus Rose and Butler.
The Cavaliers appear to have hit a home run in drafting Irving, but otherwise their drafts recently leave something to question. Over the past three drafts, they have had a league-high six first-round picks. Waiters: semi-bust. Thompson (No. 4 overall): decent player. Tyler Zeller (No. 17 overall): nothing. Sergey Karasev (No. 19 overall): nothing yet. And the biggest whiff appears to be Anthony Bennett, the top pick in the 2013 draft. He barely plays, and when he does it's ugly, shooting .214 from the field. Bennett also looks out of shape and is too slow//heavy to play small forward and too small/weak to play power forward. About the only good news is that no one from the 2013 draft is lighting it up other than Philly's Michael Carter-Williams, and the Cavs didn't need a point guard.
The Cavaliers have lost four straight entering their game Friday night in Boston, while Chicago was off.
Bulls at Cavaliers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Bulls opened as three-point favorites with a total of 182.5. Chicago is 6-8 ATS (3-6 on road) and 5-9 “over/under” (4-5 on road). All Cavs trends entering Friday: They are 3-12 ATS (1-5 at home) and 6-9 O/U (1-5 at home). Chicago is 7-2 ATS in its past nine Saturday games. The Cavs have covered one of their past 12 at home. They are 1-5 ATS in their past six in the second of a back-to-back. The over is 6-0 in Chicago's past six Saturday games. The over is 5-1 in Cleveland's past six Saturday games. The Bulls have covered their past five in Cleveland.
Free NBA Picks: Bulls at Cavaliers Betting Predictions
In their lone meeting this season, the Bulls beat visiting Cleveland 96-81 on Nov. 11 -- Cleveland has one victory since entering Friday. Rose had 16 points and seven assists and left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury (guy just can't stay healthy). Irving struggled, shooting 5-for-19 from the field for 16 points with four assists. The Cavs started Alonzo Gee at small forward in that one, which pretty much tells you how desperate they are for a small forward.
Cleveland is a .500 team at home, and Chicago is just 2-7 on the road. Plus, the end of long road trips don't tend to go well. So even though the Cavs play the night before, I like them. I'm not sure I would recommend Chicago the rest of the season in any road game (certainly not until Butler gets back), that Detroit win notwithstanding. Take the under.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top NBA handicappers here.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's NBA Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert NBA Picks