Game: Denver Nuggets at Chicago Bulls
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Nuggets +4.5, Bulls -4.5
The Bulls have won three straight including Saturday night’s win over Brooklyn, the leader in the Eastern Conference. Tonight, Chicago will host a struggling Denver squad that has won just twice in its last nine games. The Nuggets have been playing shorthanded losing Michael Porter Jr. and P.J. Dozier for the season. Jamal Murray and Austin Rivers are both out indefinitely leaving Nuggets head coach Michael Malone to figure out how to win with less.
In Saturday’s win over the Nets, Chicago’s Zach La Vine scored 31 points and had eight rebounds and six assists. DeMar DeRozan added 29 points, six rebounds, and three assists for the Bulls who are now 16-8 overall. Chicago beat New York 119-115 and Charlotte 133-119 last week to extend their streak to three games. It was the Bulls fourth victory in five games. The only setback was a 107-104 loss to Miami.
Denver actually won its last game, a 113-99 win over the Knicks. Luckily for the Nuggets, they still have reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. He played to his MVP form against New York and finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds. He shot a blistering 73.7 percent from the floor. Jokic got help from Zeke Nnaji who came off the bench to score 21 points.
The Nuggets are not only struggling to win; they are also struggling to cover the spread. In addition to going 2-7 straight up in their last nine games, Denver is also 2-7 ATS in those nine games. The Nuggets won as a three-point underdog against Miami on Nov. 29. Denver was a 2.5-point underdog in Saturday night’s win over the Knicks. What’s interesting is that the Nuggets are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against the Bulls.
Chicago has covered the number in four of its last five games. The Bulls failed to cover as a one-point underdog to Miami. In addition to their recent 4-1 ATS record, Chicago is also 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games at home at the United Center.
Tonight’s game total of 216 makes for an interesting wager for bettors. The Nuggets are just 26th in points per game this season, but they have averaged 112 points a game over their last three. Chicago is 10th in the league in scoring (109.5 ppg) and they are averaging 121 points per game over their last three.
Then, there are the Nuggets’ struggles on defense. Denver ranks in the bottom half of the NBA in defensive efficiency and they allow opponents to shoot 46.5 percent from the floor. That ranks 25th in the league.
Over their last three games, Denver ranks first and Chicago second in field goal percentage. Both teams are lighting it up and it shows. The Over is 3-1 in the Bulls last four games. The total has gone Over in seven straight Denver games and nine of the last ten.