Free NBA Picks: Knicks at Bulls Odds Thursday TNT
by Alan Matthews - 10/30/2013
Already you can see some Chicago Bulls fans emptying the bandwagon after the Bulls looked very sloppy and were pretty much manhandled by the Miami Heat in the season opener on Tuesday night, 107-95 (I recommended giving the points). But I caution you not to read anything into these early-season games.
For example, in the Heat's second game of the 2012-13 season, they were clobbered 104-84 at the Knicks. They lost again by 20 at the Knicks again about a month later. Does anyone really think last year's Knicks were better than the Heat? How about Tuesday's Clippers-Lakers game? The Lakers had a rather underwhelming starting five of Pau Gasol, Shawne Williams, past-his-prime Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Nick Young. The Clippers have one of the best starting groups in the NBA in Blake Griffin, Jared Dudley, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. The Clips also have one of the NBA's best benches, while the Laker bench is a bunch of scrubs. So what happened? The Lakers won, 116-103. Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry each outscored Paul. The Lakers had five bench guys score in double digits and somehow outrebounded the Clippers by 12. Kobe who? Do you really think the Lakers are better than the Clippers? Obviously not.
So Bulls fans shouldn't be concerned. The Heat were back essentially intact from last year's title team. It was Derrick Rose's first regular-season game since April 2012, and he was clearly rusty. Rose's starting shooting guard was Jimmy Butler, who almost never got off the bench when Rose was last healthy. Joakim Noah, who barely played in the preseason due to injury, also was out of sync.
Knicks at Bulls Betting Story Lines
It should be quite a response from Bulls fans when Rose is introduced last among the starters in his first home game that counts since blowing out his knee in Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the 76ers (remember when Philly was competitive?). Just think, LeBron James hadn't won a title yet when Rose went down. The good news for Bulls fans is that Rose appeared to have his trademark explosiveness as he made a few terrific layups in traffic. His jumper was terrible, however, as Rose was 1-for-7 from three-point range. And he was trying to make too much happen at times, turning the ball over five times -- Mario Chalmers picked his pocket on the first play of the game. As long as Rose's burst is there, the rest will come with playing time.
Any chance Chicago had Tuesday ended when Luol Deng, who guards LeBron as well as anyone in the NBA, picked up his third foul late in the first quarter. He wouldn't play the rest of the first half, and the game was all but over by intermission. Deng would finish with only four points, yet the Bulls were plus-6 with Deng on the floor. In addition, Butler picked up his third foul at the 9:39 mark of the second quarter and headed to the bench. Four Bulls had at least four fouls, with Kirk Hinrich fouling out. The only Heat player with four was Ray Allen. Yeah, home-court advantage.
On the bright side, Butler looked great in the second half and finished with 20 points and five steals. The Heat also had no answer for Carlos Boozer, who had 31 points on 13-for-18 from the field. If those two play even close to that, the Bulls are in great shape. The bench did look a little worrisome with Mike Dunleavy struggling to find his shot. Coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't like to play rookies, but with Dunleavy off the mark the coach had to turn to Tony Snell for seven minutes, and he promptly went 0-for-3 and committed two fouls.
The Knicks opened their season on Wednesday night at home against Milwaukee. The good news was that Amar'e Stoudemire did dress for the game. So did Kenyon Martin. The plan as of now to keep both injury-prone veterans healthy all season is to alternate them in the lineup on a game-to-game basis in a back-to-back situation. So whichever played Wednesday won't Thursday. It seems like Stoudemire was to play Wednesday. Neither Stoudemire nor Martin is expected to play more than 15 minutes a game for a while.
The Knicks won't have reining Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, who averaged 18.1 points last season, the first five games due to suspension. New York's two big offseason additions were former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani, who shot only 38.1 percent in the preseason, from Toronto and amnestied Lakers forward Metta World Peace. It looks like Bargnani will come off the bench and that Anthony will move to power forward with World Peace to start at small forward.
Knicks at Bulls NBA TNT Thursday Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Bulls opened as 5.5-point favorites with a total of 187. The Knicks were 46-34-2 ATS last season and 39-41-2 “over/under”. New York is 9-2 ATS in its past 11 Thursday games. The Knicks are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games. Chicago is 1-5 ATS in its past six home games. The under is 6-2 in the Knicks' past eight Thursday games. The over is 8-2 in the Bulls' past 10 overall. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings. The Knicks are 0-5 ATS in the past five.
Free NBA Picks: Knicks at Bulls Betting Predictions
The Bulls swept the Knicks last season. Chicago wasn't a good offensive team without Rose but scored in triple digits in three of those victories. The most recent victory, April 11, ended New York's 13-game winning streak two weeks after the Bulls ended Miami's 27-game run. The last game Rose played against the Knicks was April 8, 2012, at Madison Square Garden. He had 29 points but New York won 100-99. That was the Knicks' last win in this series.
An emotional Rose return, probably no Stoudemire as well as no Smith for New York, which is playing its second game in two nights. This seems easy. Take the Bulls and the under.
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