NBA Wednesday Picks: Chicago Bulls at Minnesota Timberwolves

Joakim-noah-bulls-2830Chicago at Minnesota
Time: 8 PM ET, Apr 9, 2014
Spread: CHI -3
Total: 192

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

Chicago is tied with Toronto at 45-32 but the Raptors hold tiebreaker over the Bulls. Winning tonight in Minnesota could help break the tie, and the Bulls have won five straight entering Wednesday night’s action.

The Bulls are three point favorites in Minnesota, according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada.

Chicago has won seven of its last eight games, with the lone loss coming to Portland on Mar 28. Two wins over Boston, Philadelphia, Indiana, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Washington have helped the Bulls improve to 45-32 on the season. The Bulls lack scoring options, but D.J. Augustin has embraced the role as go to scorer. He has scored 17.1 points per game over his last 10 games and is averaging 20.7 points per game in the month of April.

Joakim Noah is creating a lot of offense from the center spot, leading the team in assists at 5.2 per game. The Bulls traded Luol Deng and Derrick Rose has been injured, but even with Augustin and Boozer as the primary weapons the Bulls have remained viable due to its strong team defense. The Bulls allow just 91.6 points per game, and though the team scores juts 93.4 itself, the style of play is conducive to winning in the playoffs when possessions count for more.

Minnesota quietly had a nice season, but it’s just not enough in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves are above .500 at 39-38, and Kevin Love is one season closer to becoming a free agent in 2015. Love is averaging 25.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, but the Wolves have a lot of issues as a team that are keeping it from ascending to the next level of playoff contention.

The Wolves lack perimeter shooters and is poor at transition defense. The defense lacks rim protection and doesn’t rotate well. All those inconsistencies, mostly the defensive ones, are keeping the Wolves as the .500 type team it currently is, and has been.

CHI Trends: 4-0-1 ATS in last 5 overall; 4-0 ATS in last 4 following SU win; 6-1 ATS in last 7 Wednesday games.

MIN Trends: 7-1 ATS in last 8 Wednesday games; OVER 6-1 in last 7 games following ATS win; OVER 5-1 in last 6 games following SU win of more than 10 points.

Head-to-head: Bulls 5-0 ATS in last 5 meetings in Minnesota; OVER 4-1 in last 5 meetings in Minnesota; Bulls 7-2 ATS in last 9 meetings.

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