NBA on ESPN Betting Preview: Golden State Warriors at Chicago Bulls

Jimmy Butler has been huge for the 24-16 Bulls this season.
Jimmy Butler has been huge for the 24-16 Bulls this season.

Golden State Warriors at Chicago Bulls
Time: 7 PM CT (ESPN)
Spread: GSW -7
Total: 216

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

Surprisingly, the 38-4 Golden State Warriors have lost two of its past four games, with ‘Ls’ coming to the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets.

Even so, the Warriors obliterated the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference last time out, knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-98 in a game that was never close.

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The Warriors will now travel to Chicago to face the Bulls in a game NBA oddsmakers favor the Warriors by 7 points. The game will air at 7 Central on ESPN.

Golden State’s dismantling of the Cavaliers on Monday night was something impressive. The Warriors led 70-44 at the half. Last year’s MVP Stephen Curry had another huge game, hitting 12 of 18 from the field and 7 of 12 from three-point range for 35 points in the game.

The Warriors placed four others in double figure scoring, and Andre Iguodala brought 20 points off the bench on 7 of 8 shooting. The Dubs shot 54.1 percent from the floor as a team and hit 19 threes. It was a masterful performance against a team they could easily square off with in the 2016 NBA Finals. It is really early to say that, but this was a matchup of the top teams in each conference.

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Curry has more or less been on fire since returning. Over his last five games he is averaging 33.6 points, five rebounds and five assists while shooting 50.9 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three. He has hit five threes or more in each of the last five games, and the Warriors are not getting derailed by two losses.

The Dubs are 38-4 and the 1996 Chicago Bulls were 39-3 after 42 games. So, the Warriors are still very much on pace and in contention of the 72-win season the Bulls had in Michael Jordan’s final championship run.

The Bulls have lost three of its last five games but are still 24-16 on the season and have posted the No. 3 record in the East thus far. The Bulls are 16-7 at home this season, and the Warriors have lost all four of its games on the road where it is 19-4.

The Bulls most recently knocked off the Detroit Pistons 111-101. Pau Gasol came through with a ‘vintage Pau’ game, scoring 31 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while posting an EVEN plus/minus. Jimmy Butler had an off night, hitting just 5 of 13 from the floor for 16 points, but the Bulls placed five players in double figures overall while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor as a team. The Bulls also only had 10 turnovers in the game while holding the Pistons to 44.2 percent shooting (including 5 of 26 from three).

Chicago is a strong enough team that it could take advantage of the Dubs minor struggles, but this game is likely to be in the Warriors’ hands evidenced by NBA oddsmakers favoring Curry and company handily.

The Bulls are without Joakim Noah for the next three-to-four months as the big man had surgery to repair a separated shoulder. With Taj Gibson waiting on the wings on the bench this move should hardly derail the Bulls. Noah had become a strong second unit player this year, but he is one of the less essential parts of the rotation.

To be sure, the Bulls will miss his hustle and leadership, but Joakim is a free agent at season’s end. There may be a team willing to buy on a bargain at the trade deadline, and the Bulls could use a replacement talent more than a free agent who may not be back. Chicago really has no way to enter a full-on rebuild, so it may be that this injury only opens the doors for getting a return on Noah.

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