THE weekend is here and the NBA has itself a nice nine-game slate on deck to keep us busy.
There’s a lot of injury news (and subsequent line movement) to navigate so be sure to do your due diligence before making your bets.
Let’s take a look at our best for today though.
Chicago Bulls @ Denver Nuggets
DENVER will look to bounce back in this one after possibly their worst performance of the season against a depleted Philadelphia last night.
It is entirely possible they got caught in a look ahead situation as they take on a strong Chicago Bulls side so I’m ok with putting a line through their efforts and performance in that one.
Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is marked as questionable in this one, but I do expect the Nuggets big man to lace them up.
Welcoming back Will Barton is a big plus and will help this injury ravaged side add some strength to their rotations. Aaron Gordon will play a pivotal role in this matchup and will likely be tasked with containing Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan for the majority of the time, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him split his time on Zach LaVine should the latter get into his groove early.
Denver have struggled offensively without Michael Porter Jnr, and I expect this to continue tonight with both sides matching up evenly across the board. If Jokic plays he will be able to get whatever he wants against the undersized Tony Bradley and the reality is this team still depends heavily on the performances and offensive output of the Serbian star to get going at that end of the floor.
Chicago have been a much-improved side this season with their new additions, but the biggest positives have been the effectiveness of backcourt duo Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso who have helped mould the teams defensive identity. This has allowed Billy Donovan to deploy a bevy of rotations and lineups to give them versatility and make up for the front court’s shortcomings on the defensive end.
Neither side play an up-tempo style of basketball and as a result have a high frequency in half court defensive sets. While the Bulls have the ability to be explosive in fastbreak possessions, this is largely on the back on steals and live turnovers, which Denver does a good job in limiting.
My model shows a considerable edge to the total stay under the market number in this matchup and while I expect some positive regression coming for shooters across the league I can’t get to this number in any circumstance right now.
Our best bet: Under 208.5 points $1.90 at PlayUp