We’ve had a slow three days on our NBA picks, but are still 10-6 ATS over the past 16. Today, let’s get back on track with a couple Sunday winners.
Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers -7 (Total: 179.5)
This is a huge Central Division matchup as the Pacers have built a three game lead over Chicago for the division lead and can take a huge step towards wrapping up their first division title in six years with a win tonight. The home crowd will be pumped up, as the game is nationally televised which is a rarity that is a sore spot for Indy fans. And most importantly, they will be back at full strength with Roy Hibbert returning from his one game suspension.
The Bulls have been in the media a lot recently, but for reasons surrounding the will he/won’t he saga of Derek Rose’s alleged return to the Bulls. On the court, they have done some pretty remarkable things. Joakim Noah put up one of the most ridiculous stat lines of the season this week with his triple-double that included 20+ points and rebounds and 11 blocks. That’s some Wilt Chamberlain stuff right there. The Bulls have lost three of their last five games, but have found some offense of late, scoring 90+ points in four of their last five games.
They are going to need to play well offensively in order to have a chance against the stingy Pacers tonight. Chicago gets the headlines for their defensive prowess, but it has been Indiana who is the best in the league this year, holding opponents to league lows in scoring (89.6 ppg) and field goal percentage (41.4%).
Likewise, Chicago’s defensive effort better be better than is has been lately to slow down Indiana’s reignited offense. The Pacers have averaged 109.5 points in their last four home games and are still working Danny Granger back into the rotation. Once he is healthy and acclimated, the Pacers lone weakness, occasionally finding offensive creativity, will be even further alleviated. I am not sold they can beat Miami but am starting to come around to believe that it will at least be a great series, should it happen.
Seven and a half if a pretty steep sum to back the Pacers tonight, but the numbers and trends support it. Indiana is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games and Chicago is 0-4 ATS in their last four games against teams with a +.600 winning percentage. Meaning, they haven’t been able to get it done against the league’s top team this season. I expect that to continue tonight at home for Indiana.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -7