Had somebody told you that the Bulls would be a much better team before the season than Denver, you would probably think they were crazy, but heading into this matchup, that’s the case. Will it be enough to win? Find out below?
Denver Nuggets Betting Preview:
After finishing it disappointingly last year, the Denver Nuggets entered the season with high hopes. Jokic was the MVP; he came back in shape this year, Jamal Murray was going to be back, and Michael Porter Jr. would elevate his game even further. Uhm, not quite. Jokic is still playing at a great level, but he does not have a lot of help. Porter Jr. is out for the year with a back issue, Jamal Murray is still not ready to come back and won’t be soon enough, and their season looks dead already, 22 games in. Is the situation so grim? Probably not, but it’s not very bright either.
An 11-11 record showcases a quite average team, and while they are an above-average team, they are not good enough to challenge for the title. With Murray back in a few months, they might look even better, but once again, it’s hard seeing them beat teams like the Warriors or Suns in a 7-game series. Offensively it’s been quite a struggle with the team one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Why? Well, they are missing two of their 3 best offensive players. Apply that to any team in the league, and they would be in trouble.
What is really impressive, though, is the defense that ranks 3rd best in the league. That shows a lot of heart by the team playing depleted every night. It’s something that should play nicely in the playoffs when the whistle gets swallowed, but they first need to get there, and that will be a struggle.
Chicago Bulls Betting Preview:
Everything you thought about the Nuggets came true for the Bulls, in a way, at least. The Bulls created a very solid squad on paper that had many wondering how it could work. Some were convinced it would work great, while others expected a dumpster fire. Well, it seems to be working as of now, with the Bulls sitting as one of the best teams in league with a 16-8 record. They are healthy for the most part, and they play good basketball. It’s nothing magical, nothing special, the players simply like each other personally and enjoy playing with each other, and it’s showing.
There is a very competent point guard in Lonzo Ball; you have a great scorer in LaVine as well; there is DeMar DeRozan, who is playing an All-Star season; you have complementary pieces in Vucevic and solid pieces coming from the bench. A great mix of veterans and youth that work well. The most interesting fact about the team is their identity. Many expected an explosive offense that scores 120 points every night, but that nos been the case. The Bulls rank in the top 10 offensively, but this offense is far from explosive. They are quite efficient, though, and it shows.
Many also expected a lot of trouble on the defensive side, yet it isn’t like that. The Bulls are top 10 in defense, which makes sense with capable defenders in Lonzo and Caruso, but nobody expected them to play good team defense. So far, it’s been working well and a wounded Denver team coming to town is another great opportunity.
Jokic – Vucevic
Two players from neighboring countries will go head to head in the best basketball league in the world. Jokic is back in the lineup, and he continued where he left off. Superb and efficient play elevating his teammates to a higher level. He will need to do that in the Windy City as well if they hope for a win. Vucevic can’t stop Jokic defensively, but he can make him work on defense. If the Montenegrin can do that, Jokic might have an average night on the other side. With this depleted Denver team, that might prove enough.
Denver Defense – Chicago Defense
Both of these defenses rank in the top 10, but Chicago faces the weaker offensive team. They are done if Denver can’t keep up scoring-wise or if the defense on them prevents them from scoring consistently.
Nuggets vs. Bulls betting lines
Chicago is favored at home by 4,5, with the points set at 214. Both numbers were expected.
Free Betting Pick
The way things currently stand in the season, taking anything but the Bulls here is not great value. I don’t love the 4,5 number because I think Denver can keep it close, but an ML on Chicago is certainly worth looking at.
I actually lean more to the over when it comes to the points. Both have been scoring better lately, and I think this could end up being a 110-106 game in the right circumstances, which would put the numbers over. I wouldn’t say I like this play too much either, but that’s the game.