Cleveland Cavaliers (61-17 SU 38-39-1 ATS) vs. Chicago Bulls (37-40 SU 39-36-2 ATS) United Center, Chicago, IL 8 PM EST Thursday April 8, 2010 on TNT
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cavs +2.5/Bulls -2.5
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Tonight when the Chicago Bulls host the Cleveland Cavaliers they should give them a thank you card. In the Cavs last game Antawn Jamison’s elbow struck Toronto’s Chris Bosh likely knocking the superstar out for the regular season. That is HUGE, as the Bulls trail the Raptors by only game with only a handful of games remaining.
The Raptors are not playing tonight so if the Bulls can win tonight they will pull even with Toronto for 8th and last playoff spot.
Cleveland has already wrapped up the best record in the Eastern Conference so they will be the #1 seed in the post season. Even though this game means nothing tonight they still want to win, as they may face the Bulls in the 1st round of the playoffs and do not want to give them any confidence.
The Cavs are coming off a win and are 8-2 in their last 10 games while the Bulls are coming off a loss and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
This season Chicago is 22-17 at home and Cleveland is 26-13 on the road.
The Cavs are a little banged up, as Shaq is still out and in this game guards Delonte West and Daniel Gibson will not play
The Bulls are decent on defense and they cannot just focus on King James, but mainly Antawn Jamison (18.8 ppg) and Mo Williams (15.5), as they cannot let these guys have big nights on offense.
Derrick Rose (20.2 ppg) is the leading scorer for Chicago this season and he has to play well tonight. However, he has struggled against Cleveland only averaging 13.8 ppg on 34% shooting in 6 career games.
The Bulls have to win this game on D, as their offense only ranks 24th in the league in scoring.
In their last game on Tuesday night the Bulls lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 79-74. The high scorer for Chicago in the game was Luol Deng going for 16 points on only 6/17 shooting. For the game the Bulls shot 32/74 from the floor for a FG% of 43.2%. On defense the Bulls played solid, but in a losing effort, as they held the Bucks to only 28/74 for a FG% of 36.4%.
The Cavs also played on Tuesday night in their last game, but they beat the Toronto Raptors 113-101. The high scorer for Cleveland in the game was Antawn Jamison going for 20 points on 10/18 shooting. For the game the Cavs shot lights out going 47/84 for a FG% of 56%. On D the Cavs allowed the Raptors to shoot 39/83 for a FG% of 47%.
This season the Cavs rank 7th in the league in scoring (102.3 ppg) and the Bulls only rank 24th (96.9 ppg). On defense the Cavs rank 5th in opponents’ points allowed (95.1 ppg) and the Bulls rank a respectable 13th (99 ppg). The Cavs have been a better team this season on the boards, as they have a rebounding differential of +4.1 rpg and the Bulls are at +1.5 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Cavs rank 1st (97.11) and the Bulls rank 19th (88.68).
Cleveland is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against teams with a winning home record.
Cleveland has an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games against teams with a losing record and has an Over record of 7-3-1 in their last 11 games after an ATS win.
Chicago is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games against teams with a winning road record.
Chicago has an Under record of 8-2 in their last 10 games and Under record of 6-1 in their last 7 home games.
On the injury front Shaq is Out and PF Anderson Varejao, SG Delonte West, SF LeBron James, and Antawn Jamison are all day-to-day for Cleveland while Chicago is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: This is the classic “worse team favored” scenario that rears it’s head near the end of every NBA season where the game doesn’t mean anything to the Cavs and the Bulls will be motivated to play hard tonight resulting in the Cavs losing while the general betting public will get duped into taking Cleveland. Take the Bulls tonight as bizarre as it may seem, it’s most likely easy money.