Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick

Chicago Bulls (2-7) at Denver Nuggets (7-3), 9 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Zman of

Two teams off to polar-opposite starts this young season meet up when the Chicago Bulls pay a visit to the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night in Mile High-ville.

Denver opened up as six-point home favorites on NBA betting boards, with a total of 202 . But early wagering action has moved the Nuggets to 7 at most sportsbooks, and the total has been bumped to 204. Also, Denver is listed at anywhere from -360 to -430 on the various moneylines, with Chicago getting from +250 to +330 as road dogs.

The Bulls were expected to compete for the title of the best team in the Eastern Conference this season, and they could still up end up there. But as for now, Chicago has lost seven of its first nine games, and two of three on a current five-game West Coast road trip after falling badly to the Lakers in Los Angeles Sunday 106-78. So through the early part of this season, Chicago sits in last place in the Central Division, 3 games back of the first-place Detroit Pistons.

The Nuggets, on the other hand, have won five games in a row after beating down the hapless New York Knicks 115-83 Saturday. Over that five-game span, Denver has shot better than 50% from the field and won those games by 26, 7, 22, 17 and 32 points. So heading into Tuesday’s action, the Nuggets are tied for first place with the Utah Jazz in the Northwest Division, 3 games clear of the third-place Portland Trailblazers.

These two teams split their two meeting last season, with the Nuggets winning in Denver in November 113-109 and the Bulls winning in Chicago in March 109-108. Denver out-shot the Bulls from the floor over the two games 50% to 45%, while Chicago out-rebounded the Nuggets 92-89. And both games went over their totals, by 14 and 16 points.

This season, the Bulls are a troublesome 2-7 against the spread, and just 1-4 both straight up and vs. the numbers on the road. Meanwhile, Denver is 6-4 ATS this season, and 4-1 both SU and vs. the numbers at home.

Statistically speaking, Chicago stinks this season. The Bulls are getting outscored on average 96-88, out-rebounded by 2.4 per game, and shooting just 39% from the field as a team and 27% from 3-point range. Chicago has yet to shoot even 46% from the floor for an entire game this season.

On the other side, the Nuggets are outscoring opponents 109-100, shooting 48% from the floor, 37% from long-range and 73% from the free-throw line, and are out-rebounding foes by a .2 per-game margin.

On the injury front, Bulls G Luol Deng missed Sunday’s loss to the Lakers with a bad back, and he’s listed as out for Tuesday’s game. And Denver F Kenyon Martin also has back problems, and he’s listed as questionable.

The o/u is 3-6 in Chicago games this season, which are averaging 184 points per, while the totals are 5-5 in Nuggets games, which are averaging 209 points.

Zman’s Pick: Under 201.