Bulls vs. Rockets Pick – February 3rd

The Rockets are really good and the Bulls are a spectacularly dysfunctional mess, so easy pick, right?  Right??  Well... let's dig a little into the trends for a closer look.

No Draymond?  No Zaza?  No Livingston?  No problem.

For most mere mortal teams, missing three of your top seven players for a road game against a Playoff team would be a problematic situation.  Not for Golden State.  Between the absence of Chris Paul and their sincere animosity for the Clippers, the Dubs wandered into Staples and hung 133 points in a relatively routine victory over the pseudo-nemesis.

Of course I’m most interested that we notched the win in the process to shake off the night before’s half-point with Boston coming up just shy of the cover against the Raptors, making the game even a little more fun on our end.

It was an otherwise relatively quiet night in the NBA.  The Wizards won easily to keep their torrid play going, the Spurs dispatched the Sixers with but a yawn and in the bests action of the night, the Hawks ROARED back to win in Houston with a 40-22 fourth quarter flurry.

Tonight, the Association gets back to full throttle with eight games to choose from.  Let’s see if we can start the weekend off with a winner.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Chicago Bulls at Houston Rockets -7

On the surface, the only reason to pick the Bulls tonight is the fact that Houston played a tough game last night against Atlanta while Chicago rested at home.  However, Houston is REALLY good ATS on no rest at 9-3 ATS this season and a +12.6 ppg margin, so that reason is somewhat diminished, if not eliminated altogether.  SO if the Rockets play well on short rest statistically and the Bulls are a disaster, take Houston, right?

Well, maybe not.  The Rockets are in the midst of a really strong regression to the mean right now.  The started the season sizzling, flirting with Warriors/Spurs territory and looking like a legit NBA Title threat.  However, over their last ten games, they are just 4-6 straight up and 3-7 ATS.  They look a lot closer to the team we all ASSUMED they would be this season as opposed to the one that took the league by storm.  James Harden is still the clubhouse leader in the MVP Race, but the Rockets look like they should more appropriately be in the Grizzlies/Clippers/Jazz/Thunder bucket than the Warriors/Spurs.

Meanwhile, for all the reasons to dislike the Bulls (and believe me, I am not a fan of this ballclub and predicted doom as early as my preseason overview column) they are faring better than people realize.  Sure, they lead the league in media dysfunction, but they are also 4-2 SU in their last six games and are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.  And while, yes, Houston has been good on short rest, there is still some benefit to being the team with EXTRA rest in a head-to-head situation – especially after a tough fourth quarter collapse the night before that pushed a team to play a full, tense 48 minutes.

I don’t like betting on Chicago.  I really don’t.  As I have written before, their variance between “great” and “awful” is so frequent, it can give a fan whiplash.  But the value tonight is a little too big to ignore.  Houston is 1-5 ATS in their last six games and 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games.

If this pick is a little to daring for you, I understand sitting it out.  The Bulls always introduce a little more randomness to the mix that I normally tolerate in my featured daily pick.  But the trends are all strong in their direction tonight making it the best play on my board.

Come on “good Bulls”…

PICK: CHICAGO BULLS +7