Free NBA Picks: Bulls at Bobcats Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/24/2014
Kobe Bryant recently said he didn't like the current NBA game because there was too much "finesse" involved. Scoring is most definitely way up, just as the league wants, with less contact involved. So if you like offensive basketball, avert your eyes for Saturday's game between the Bulls and Bobcats in Charlotte because they are two of the few teams in the league that win with defense and prefer scores in the 80s instead of 100s. The total set on this game will be one of the lowest of the season.
Both front offices probably are rooting for their respective team to lose. The Bobcats entered Friday's game at the struggling Knicks holding down the eighth spot in the East. Yeah, it would be nice for Charlotte to finally play postseason basketball, but what's the point of making it to simply then get swept by either Indiana or Miami? The better route is to land another high pick in the stacked 2014 draft and perhaps finally get a superstar to build around. It's also great marketing with the Bobcats set to become Hornets again next season. A fresh new start.
The Bulls have their superstar in Derrick Rose, but perhaps it's time the Bulls not count on him returning to MVP level after yet another serious knee injury cost him the rest of this season. The Bulls are probably going to make the playoffs despite dealing Luol Deng to Cleveland a few weeks ago because they play so hard for Coach Tom Thibodeau, and the East is pathetic. However, Chicago's brass would really like it if the Bulls started losing to slip into the lottery and also if Charlotte finished with the 11th-worst record in the NBA. That's because the Bulls get the Bobcats' pick if it’s outside the Top 10 due to a Tyrus Thomas trade in 2010, a total heist for Chicago. If Charlotte's pick is inside the Top 10, it's Top-8 protected next season and unprotected in 2016 for Chicago.
Bulls at Bobcats Betting Story Lines
Chicago has somehow been better since dealing Deng at 7-2 entering Friday's home game against the L.A. Clippers. Joakim Noah absolutely must be an all-star. He's averaging 14.4 points, 15.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 blocks this month. Should the Bulls think of trading him -- doubtful -- Noah's value would never be higher. In addition, D.J. Augustin, the former Bobcat (No. 9 overall pick in 2008), was signed off the scrap heap, and he has been tremendous at the point. He's averaging 16.5 points and 6.6 assists in 30.7 minutes in January. Taj Gibson also has stepped it up. He had the first buzzer-beating bucket of his career on Monday and had 26 points on Wednesday in the win over Cleveland.
Kirk Hinrich has generally been starting at the point with Rose out, but Hinrich hasn't played since Monday because of a hamstring injury and didn't Friday, either. He's almost assuredly out here. Carlos Boozer missed Wednesday's game with a calf injury but returned Friday night.
Charlotte is without starting point guard Kemba Walker for at least another week, something I touched on in this week's NBA week ahead story on Tuesday. He was having a career season. I'll admit that I thought it would be wise to bet against Charlotte as long as Walker was out, but the Bobcats upset the Clippers 95-91 on Wednesday behind 24 points and 10 rebounds from Al Jefferson. Ramon Sessions, starting for Walker, was only 4-for-12 from the field, and Charlotte was minus-1 with him on the court even though he had eight assists.
It appears that Bobcats owner Michael Jordan finally got a coach hiring right as Steve Clifford is doing a fine job as a Thibodeau clone. The Bobcats are a lot like the Bulls in that they struggle to score but can stop people. Charlotte ranks No. 5 in points allowed per game and Chicago No. 2.
Bulls at Bobcats NBA Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the game opened as a 'pick' with a total of 179. All trends entering Friday: Chicago is 19-22 against the spread (9-11 on road) and 17-24 "over/under" (11-9 on road). Charlotte is 24-18-2 ATS (11-12 at home) and 20-23-1 O/U (7-15-1 at home). The Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their past five Saturday games. The Bobcats are 2-5 ATS in their past seven against teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1 in Chicago's past seven Saturday games. The over is 4-0 in Charlotte's past four Saturday games. Chicago is 4-0 ATS in its past four in Charlotte. The road team has covered eight of its past nine in the series.
Free NBA Picks: Bulls at Bobcats Betting Predictions
This is the third of four meetings, and the Bulls won the first two, both in Chicago. The first was Nov. 18 and Chicago won 86-81 in a type of score one would expect from these two. All five Chicago starters scored in double figures, led by Deng's 21. Rose was around for that one. He would get hurt four days later. On Jan. 11, Chicago beat Charlotte 103-97 behind 20 points and 12 assists from Augustin and 19 points and 14 board from Deng. This time seven Bulls had double-figure scorers. Walker was still around for that one and had 29.
It's a wash in the respect that both teams had to play Friday night and fly to Charlotte. I didn't like the Bobcats much earlier this week, so I can't go back on them now. Having Boozer back, presuming he doesn't aggravate the problem on Friday, helps things for Chicago. It is the pick. Tired legs usually mean worse defense, so I lean to the over.
AMAZING offer – Doc’s is offering $60 worth of member’s NBA picks for free – no obligation, no sales people. Try one of our NBA handicappers picks free now.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's NBA Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert NBA Picks