NBA Picks: Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks
Thursday, 2/2/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Chicago -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Chicago -3.5
Opening Total:  190
Current Total:  191
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Chicago Bulls haven't lost back-to-back regular-season games since Feb. 5-7, 2011

Chicago has alternated wins and losses over its last six games, coming off a 98-82 blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last night as two-point road favorites.  “Our defense wasn’t good,” commented Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau about the loss.  “I though our reaction to the ball was very poor.”  The Bulls are in the middle of a nine-game road trip and played without two starters Wednesday, as Luol Deng is suffering from a wrist injury, while Richard Hamilton is out with an injured groin.  Chicago is 9-5 ATS on the road this season.

The Bulls are 12-4 versus Eastern Conference opponents this season, including a 5-3 mark away from the United Center.  Last year, Chicago dropped two of three meetings with New York, allowing 104.3 points per game in those contests.  Point guard Derrick Rose has tallied 30 or more points in three of his last four games, as he’s played a major part in leading the team to its fourth-best start in franchise history.  The Bulls are second in the NBA in scoring differential, outscoring opponents by 8.4 points per game.

New York has been one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments this season and will look to win back-to-back games for the first time since capturing four consecutive wins from Jan. 6-11.  The Knicks were happy to see star forward Carmelo Anthony back on the floor after missing two games with various injuries, scoring 25 points and playing an important part in the team shooting 60 percent from the field. “A lot of that is Melo,” stated Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni.  “He draws a lot of attention.”  New York is 2-8 ATS at home this season.

The Knicks will be playing their first game of a three game back-to-back-to-back, traveling off to Boston after tonight’s contest and returning home to welcome in the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.  Anthony scored 21 points and grabbed five rebounds in his lone meeting against Chicago as a member of the franchise last season, while Amar’e Stoudemire averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in two meetings.  It’s important to note that the squad will be facing an opponent that hasn’t lost back-to-back regular-season games since Feb. 5-7, 2011.

Bettors will likely back the Bulls due to their 31-11-1 ATS mark following a straight-up loss, while the Knicks are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 games.

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