NBA Eastern Conference Odds: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls

Spurs Celtics NBA Game PreviewBoston at Chicago
Time: 8 PM ET, Mar 31, 2014
Spread: CHI -9.5
Total: 185

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Chicago Bulls have been surging in the weak Eastern Conference and are currently seated 4th. If the playoffs began today, Chicago would face Brooklyn in its opening round matchup, but things are still subject to shifting, with the Nets just 1.5 games behind Chicago and Washington three games back.

The Bulls are 23-14 at the United Center where it will host the Boston Celtics in a game NBA oddsmakers are setting the line 9.5 points in favor of the Bulls.

This game marks the second of a two-game set between the clubs. The Bulls won 107-102 on Sunday (Mar 30) night, as D.J. Augustin scored a career high 33 points. Augustin never produced much prior to this year, mostly known as an undersized 2-guard struggling to adapt to life as a point guard.

With the Bulls’ offense depleted of weapons this season, Augustin has thrived as the de facto leading scorer of the team. He hit 10-of-14 from the floor and all 10 of his free throws in the game. On the season, Augustin is averaging 14.5 points and five assists per game, which while not “Derrick Rose type” numbers, have been sufficient to keep the Bulls afloat in the East.

Carlos Boozer has continued to decline further this season without a major offensive weapon like Rose to set him up. His PER is below the league average at 14.2 and he’s averaging just 13.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. With the Bulls targeting Carmelo Anthony this offseason in free agency, Boozer may finally be amnestied to clear the cap room to sign him.

Joakim Noah has been nothing short of incredible and is leading the Bulls in assists with 5.2 per game. The Florida product is also averaging a double-double with 12.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Noah and Augustin have helped salvage what could have been an awful season for the Bulls and helped keep the team in playoff contention.

Boston is just 23-50 on the season, but that is exactly how GM Danny Ainge drew it up. Ainge parted ways with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce last summer, sending the duo to the Brooklyn Nets for a slew of draft picks and expiring contracts. While Boston hasn’t been competitive this season, the pieces are intact for future improvement. Pairing Rajon Rondo with one of the elite prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft could quickly reverse the C’s fortune, and the team has a number of developing players who could eventually pay major dividends for Ainge and the Celtics.

Avery Bradley has taken offensive initiative this season and vastly improved on that end of the court. The defensive stopper is averaging 14.4 points per game this season. Jared Sullinger has continued to solidify his status as the steal of the 2013 draft, and he’s averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game in his second pro season. Rookie center Kelly Olynyk has looked good at times, showing nice shooting touch, passing skills and toughness. Olynyk is averaging 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game.

BOS Trends: UNDER 5-1 in last 6 Monday games; 4-1 ATS in last 5 road games; 4-1-1 ATS in last 6 following SU loss.

CHI Trends: UNDER 4-0 in last 4 after scoring 100 points or more in previous game; 0-4-1 ATS in last 5 when opponent scores 100 or more in previous game; 0-4 ATS in last 4 after scoring 100 points or more in previous game.

Head-to-head: Celtics 0-4-1 ATS in last 5 meetings; Celtics 1-6-1 ATS in last 8 in Chicago; OVER 5-2 in last 7 meetings.

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