The Cleveland Cavaliers burned me last night, as they lost by four to the Pacers in Indiana. That snapped the Cavs’ sick 13-game winning streak and dropped them into an 0-2 season series hole against Indy. It also gave me another loss and snapped my own two-game run. I’ll enter the weekend trying to add to an 11-9 season mark.
Saturday offers up a healthy 10-game NBA betting slate, so there are certainly a lot of options to choose from. The game I have my eye on the most resides in Chicago, where the Bulls host the New York Knicks.
Chicago has to be riding a high after getting their fourth win of the season last night, but they’ll be hosting a Knicks team that is starting to get healthy again. New York will still be without star shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., but with Kristaps Porzingis on hand, pose a threat as mild -3.5 favorites.
New York Knicks (-3.5) @ Chicago Bulls (+3.5) Total: 201
With both teams winning their last outing, something has to break. The 12-12 Knicks have been struggling a bit lately with a banged up unit, but they have to be looking at this as an amazing chance to build a winning streak.
Chicago deserves some respect, as they played hard in Charlotte last night and escaped with an impressive 119-111 win in overtime. While they can hang their hat on scoring a huge road win in a tough environment, that was just their fourth victory of the season and they’re bound to be a little tired.
That has the edge in New York’s favor for me and I love the value with them and their -155 Money Line at BetOnline. Not having THJ could be a blow for their offense, but they’re still facing a Bulls defense that ranks 27th in the NBA in terms of efficiency. Kris Dunn is a solid on-ball defender up front and Robin Lopez is capable down low, but that’s where Chicago’s resistance really stops.
On paper, the Bulls do not have anyone that can silence Zinger, who unsurprisingly hung 27 points on this team the last time he faced them. That was in a big 117-104 win last year against a far more talented Chicago squad. That win was part of a 3-0 season series sweep by the Knicks, while the Knicks have flat out dominated this series with 6 wins in the last 7 meetings.
I’m sure the Bulls would love to defend their turf and start building some momentum, but how much can bettors trust them right now? Chicago hasn’t put up much of a fight at home this year (just 2-8 at the United Center), while they’ve also been shaky against the spread (11-12-1). Their ATS numbers aren’t any better at home when marked as the underdog (3-4-1), either.
The Bulls aren’t a team to get behind when looking at ATS numbers, while the Knicks (14-10 overall ATS) have been solid this year. New York has also been a perfect 6-0 as the favorite against the spread so far, too.
New York looks like the far better team on paper, as well. Zinger gives them a legit superstar to work around on offense, while the likes of Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee give Porzingis two role players to help keep defenses honest. The Knicks also comes in with a superior offense and defense (16th and 14th in the NBA, respectively) and will be fresh after not playing since Wednesday.
I would admittedly feel a lot better about New York if Tim Hardaway Jr. were healthy, but this is still a matchup that favors the Knicks and anytime Porzingis is healthy, it’s hard to count the Knicks out. This isn’t a difficult spot for them, either. New York is the better team and they’re going to be fresh against what should be a very fatigued Bulls team.
The point spread is viable and gives you a little more value, but road games can be tricky and Chicago hasn’t been that bad against the spread this year. Because of that I’ll just back the Knicks to win tonight.