Thursday night will feature a battle of Eastern Conference teams as the Chicago Bulls (26-28) take on the Brooklyn Nets (32-22). The Nets will host this one at the Barclays Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
The Nets are the favorite in this one playing at home. They are -158 to win, while the Bulls’ moneyline sits at +134. The spread features the Bulls as 3.5-point underdogs (-112).
Bulls Trying To Make A Push In The East
At 26-28, the Chicago Bulls sit ninth in the Eastern Conference. Despite their low seeding, only six games separate themselves from the Nets, who currently occupy the fifth spot. Hoping to make a move in the conference, the Bulls will look to win on the road, where they are 10-17 this season.
Currently, Chicago sits 17th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 114.3 points per game. They are led by forward DeMar DeRozan, who is averaging 25.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and five assists per game.
The other two major scoring threats for the Bulls are Zach LaVine (23.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists) and Nikola Vucevic (18 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists).
On the defensive side, Chicago ranks 16th overall, allowing opponents an average of 113.8 points per game (115.4 on the road).
New Look Nets Try To Get Back Into Win Column
The Brooklyn Nets made arguably one of the biggest deals of the deadline as they traded away star guard Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks. With Irving out of the picture and Kevin Durant still injured, the new look Nets will try to get back into the win column after having lost two games in a row.
One player who has played well in the absence of Irving and Durant is guard Cam Thomas. In the Nets’ 116-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, he had 43 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Other major scorers from that game included Nic Claxton (17 points, 13 rebounds) and T.J. Warren (17 points).
It also appears that both Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, both acquired in the Irving deal, will make their debuts in this one. With Dallas, Dinwiddie was averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 assists, while Finney-Smith was averaging 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Take Chicago And The Points
Looking at the trends, Chicago is 4-2 both straight up and against the spread in their last six games. They are also 4-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last five against Brooklyn.
As for the Nets, they are 5-0 against the spread in their last five home games and 5-1 against the spread in their last six games overall.
This one obviously comes with the caveat that more deals could be made before Thursday afternoon’s deadline. If that is the case, for either Chicago or Brooklyn, it could seriously alter any potential outcomes.
With that in mind, with Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith joining the ranks, there will likely be a learning curve as the two new players try to fit in.
Cam Thomas has been on fire over the last few games, but the Bulls have a bit more continuity in their roster coming into this one.
While a win is far from a sure thing, there is some value in taking the Bulls and the points in this one. Take Chicago +3.5 (-112).