Bulls at Pacers Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 2/4/2013
It’s a February battle for Central Division supremacy, as the visiting Bulls sit just one game ahead of the Pacers heading into this one. Being in first place now really doesn’t prove anything, and both teams are almost certain to be heading to the postseason, but the mental boost from winning a divisional tilt like this can’t be understated.
There is a bit of a strange storyline for this one because it is a very rare NBA makeup game. The teams were originally scheduled to play the day after Christmas, but a serious winter storm in Indianapolis forced a postponement, and this is the first day that both teams were able to make a rematch happen. That means that these teams have only met once before this year — an 80-76 Indiana win in Chicago that was definitely not an offensive clinic. Luckily, the forecast for Indianapolis for Monday is relatively mild for February, so a second postponement is far from likely.
Bulls at Pacers Betting Storylines
At the rate they are going, the Bulls may soon struggle to put a lineup on the court. They have been so hard by injuries that it is almost laughable. Derrick Rose is still out and will be at least until after the All-Star Game. Joakim Noah has a foot injury that will keep him out indefinitely. Kirk Hinrich has an injured elbow and will be out as well. Carlos Boozer has missed three games with a hamstring injury, and is questionable for this game. That’s not just four players that are missing, but the core of this team. It means that Nate Robinson has to start at the point, and because Nazr Mohammed is essentially just a benchwarmer at this point it means that depth up front is a real challenge. That’s not a good situation, but, remarkably, the team hasn’t fared as poorly as you might expect facing these limitations. They are 2-1 on the current road trip, and after dropping a close one on Friday night in Brooklyn they bounced back to win in absolutely dominating fashion in Atlanta the next night. They were far the better team on both ends of the court and proved that even down their best players they are not a team that can be written off entirely.
This is the third game of a six-game road swing for the Bulls, and they are in the midst of playing 10 of 12 away from home as well. That is not an ideal schedule for any team, but it is much better for Chicago than for most teams. Only Oklahoma City and San Antonio have won more road games than the 14 the Bulls have, and their seven road losses are the fewest in the league by two. In fact, their 14-7 record on the road is a much more impressive one than the 15-11 they have compiled at home. That road success means that they come into every road game with more confidence than most teams.
They’ll need every ounce of it here, though, because the Pacers are all but unbeatable at home. Their 18-3 mark is among the best in the entire league, and far eclipses their pitiful 10-16 record on the road. They are nothing special away from home, but you really have to be on your game to beat them in Indiana. They haven’t lost at home since Dec. 7, and they most recently crushed the spirit of the Heat in a 102-89 win on Friday night that was at least as lopsided as the score suggests. Add that kind of performance to a well-rested team thanks to two days off, and Chicago faces a tough challenge.
Bulls at Pacers NBA Odds and Betting Trends
The Pacers have been installed as a six-point favorite in this one with the total at 175, which is one of the lowest totals of the entire season.
The last four meetings between these teams have gone “under” the total, and so have five of the last six played in Indiana. The Bulls are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog. The Pacers love Monday nights — they have covered the last four times they have played on the worst day of the week.
Bulls at Pacers Picks and Betting Predictions
It’s hard to go against the Pacers here. They are healthy and rested, they have proven they are sound against this team, and they are very strong at home. And at 13-8 ATS have been a good bet at home as well. The Bulls are banged up, and that’s a concern in this spot more than in most. The Pacers are the pick.
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