NBA Picks ATS: Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics

Avery Bradley-celtics-2013Chicago at Boston
Time: 7 PM ET, Mar 30, 2014
TV:  WGN / League Pass
Spread: CHI -5.5
Total: 182

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Chicago Bulls continue to defy the odds. Playing without Derrick Rose, and having jettisoned de facto leading scorer Luol Deng at the trade deadline, the Bulls still rank 4th in the Eastern Conference at 40-32. The team lacks scorers and is painful to watch at times, but its defense is tough and the Bulls will present a problem to opponents in the playoffs. Chicago is 19-17 on the road this season and will be 5.5 point favorites when it faces the Boston Celtics according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada.

The Bulls have the league’s lowest scoring offense, averaging just 92.8 points per game. D.J. Augustin has seen his role grow and he’s thrived, averaging 14.2 points and five assists per game. Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy all average double figures, but the Bulls have to work to get clean looks.

No one on Chicago attracts a double team, and Joakim Noah is often left to get creative in creating shots for himself and teammates. Noah is leading the team in assists at 5.1 per game and he’s in the MVP discussion, or at least he’ll get some votes. It’s tough to imagine a team of nothing but role players overcoming one with a legit star like Paul George of Indy or LeBron James of the Heat, but Tom Thibodeau has shown us not to count his teams out.

Boston is in the first year of a rebuild following the dealing of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. The Celtics have been as bad as expected, at 23-49, but the C’s are counting on having a high pick in the 2014 NBA draft and hoping to add a franchise talent. Rajon Rondo is being brought back slowly since the team is out of contention, and he’s not playing back to back games.

Avery Bradley has shown improvements offensively and the 2-guard is averaging 14.5 points per game this season. Bradley is known for his lockdown defensive abilities, but in order to be a featured member of the rotation his scoring has become instrumental. Jared Sullinger should eventually plateau at a near-Boozer like level, and in his second NBA season he’s averaging 13 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

The Celtics have seen flashes from rookie Kelly Olynyk, too, though he is seeing just 19 minutes per game. Olynyk is posting a PER of 14.0 and hitting 32 percent from three-point range. His shooting tough and toughness should make him a productive player for many seasons to come.

CHI Trends: 0-4 ATS in last 4 when opponent scores 100 or more in previous game; UNDER 4-0 in last 4 overall; 1-6 ATS in last 7 overall.

BOS Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 on 1 days rest; 4-1 ATS in last 5 games following an SU loss; 7-2 ATS in last 9 games on 1 days rest.

Head-to-head: Bulls 4-0 ATS in last 4 meetings; OVER 10-3 in last 13 meetings in Boston; Bulls 5-2 ATS in last 7 meetings in Boston.

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