I hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday yesterday. I know our most loyal readers had a good day, as we went 3-0 ATS with our Christmas NBA picks, running the current NBA win streak to six games and my personal overall win streak against the spread to thirteen.
It’s been a profitable Holiday to say the least… with no college hoops scheduled today, we will attempt to surpass the Clippers win streak by notching number 14 tonight with an NBA winner.
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers -4.5 (Total: 175.5)
Chicago got absolutely humiliated at home last night by the visiting Houston Rockets. Chicago has frankly outplayed expectations this season missing Derek Rose, but on occasions even the coaching brilliance of Frank Vogel can’ cover up their massive offensive deficiencies. They did score 97 points yesterday, but their defense no-showed, allowing 120 to the Rockets. Indiana certainly lacks to offensive punch of James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and the Rockets, but it is going to take a much better defensive effort tonight to end their two-game losing skid.
Meanwhile Indiana has been playing excellent basketball, winning three straight and six of seven overall. As of this morning they are a half-game ahead of the Bulls for first place in the (admittedly weak) Central Division. That makes tonight’s game even a little more interesting and important for both teams.
For the Pacers, they need to build up as much of a lead as possible before D-Rose returns for the Bulls. Granted, the Pacers are also without their best player, Danny Granger, but the acceleration to the team’s success will likely be far greater with the addition of Rose.
Indiana has been good at home lately. They have won four of five and notched wins over solid Western Conference teams including Portland, Utah as well as beating Eastern for Philadelphia. The key has been their stifling defense. Only once in their last seven games have they allowed a team to score over 85 points. That’s a good recipe tonight, considering the Bulls are not an offensive juggernaut.
Last night the Bulls starters shot 39% from the field, and the majority of their offense had to come from Nate Robinson. Not that he is an unwilling shooter – Nate took more shots than he notched minutes played on several occasions this season, but if Nate is your biggest offensive option, you are pretty much out of luck.
The Pacers hold opponents to a league-best 40.6% shooting from the floor, and to top it off, they enter tonight fresh off four night’s rest while the Bulls hit the road less than 24-hours after being humiliated by Houston.
I like the Pacers tonight laying the points at home.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -4.5