Chicago Bulls -4 @ Atlanta Hawks TOTAL: 183
The Chicago Bulls are starting to run away with the top seed in the Eastern Conference with Miami’s recent stumbles, especially on the road. However, before everyone gets all excited let all take a deep breath and remember, it the REGULAR SEASON. And if history tells us nothing else in the NBA it is that the regular season matters…but only a little bit. The team with the best record in the NBA has won the NBA title exactly TWO times in the last ten years. Two.
I’m just throwing it out there early, call it a sneak peek preview of my NBA Playoff preview column five weeks from today. The Heat are still winning the East and they are winning the whole darn thing. I just don’t want to be accused of flipping later on this season and “bailing” on the Bulls. I like this team, but in a seven game series, the Bulls have one guy who can dominate a game (and he’s injured half the season) and the Heat have three.
Anyhow… Tonight, the Bulls get a nice chance to beat a possible second round opponent for the second time on their home floor. And while I just said the regular season doesn’t mean that much, beating a team consecutive times on their floor, especially with your best player sidelined is a pretty impressive feat. All reports indicate that Derek Rose is unlikely to go again tonight, his eighth consecutive game missed. The Bulls have fared well in his absence, but they haven’t been getting it done at the betting window. They are just 3-3-1 ATS in the seven most recent games Rose has missed.
Despite the tepid performance against the number sans their MVP, they are still four-point road favorites at a good Atlanta team. That seems a little high to me, especially considering the Hawks are a solid 16-7 at home this season. You have to like them getting a fat four points in their home gym.
The factor contributing to this line is the fact the Hawks will be playing the second night of a back-to-back, and at the time of writing this column, they are playing like garbage in Milwaukee. However, Atlanta is a sparkling 11-3-1 ATS on zero days rest. That is really, really impressive.
Home court advantage, getting four, Derek Rose out, the Bulls 3-3-1 ATS without Rose and the Hawks 11-3-1 ATS on no rest. That’s a lot of numbers in Atlanta’s favor. I’m taking the Hawks getting four points at home.
Free Pick: Atlanta Hawks +4