San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls Expert NBA Picks

San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls
Thursday, 2/17/11, 8:00 PM EDT, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Chicago -2
Current Betting Line:  Chicago -2
Opening Total:  190.5
Current Total:  189

Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose scored 33 points in a earlier season loss against the San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio is considered the top road team in the league with a 21-7 mark away from home and will look to capture one final win on its rodeo trip with a visit to Chicago on Thursday night.  The Spurs are coming off a 102-85 win over the Nets, with six players scoring in double figures and Richard Jefferson being the only player to log more than 30 minutes of action.  The team is 6-2 on its annual road swing while the rodeo is stationed at the AT&T Center and coach Gregg Popovich knows its time to return home.  “They’re feeling a few bumps and bruises,” he commented.  “They’re professionals and they know what’s expected of them.  So no game can be left without trying to get better.”  San Antonio is 7-1 ATS as a road underdog of three points or less this season and currently in that range on the NBA lines page.

The Spurs are a perfect 10-0 versus Eastern Conference opponents at home, but are just 7-4 when facing such foes on the road.  San Antonio leads the all-time series with Chicago, 46-27, and picked up a 103-94 win at home in the first meeting.  The squad erased a 17-point deficit in that particular contest to come away with the victory.  The Spurs are 46-9, which is the best record through 55 games in franchise history.  It makes them the ninth time in NBA history to post such a record, as the best record through 55 games is 49-6.

Chicago is focused on capturing its 15th win in 16 games at the United Center and close out the unofficial first half of the season on a high.  “Guys are extremely confident,” forward Carlos Boozer stated.  “We’re a team – not just one guy, two guys, three guys, we’re a group of guys.”  The Bulls have had their share of injury problems in the early going, but should be at full strength after the All-Star break when center Joakim Noah returns from thumb surgery.  Boozer was one of those players that was dinged up early and actually missed the first meeting with San Antonio on November 17.    Chicago is 17-10 ATS at home this season and 60-51 ATS over the last three years.

The Bulls tallied a 106-94 victory against the Bobcats last time out, led by guard Derrick Rose scoring 18 points and dishing out 13 assists.  Chicago will rely heavily on his contributions tonight due to the 33 points he scored in the first meeting against San Antonio.  The team will be focused defensively on stopping the Spurs in the third quarter, as they were outscored 37-12 during those 12 minutes in the first meeting.

Bettors will likely back the Spurs due to their 6-2 ATS mark in the last eight meetings in Chicago, while the Bulls will be confident knowing the favorite is 5-2 ATS in this series.

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