The Chicago Bulls (16-20) visit the Cleveland Cavaliers (23-14) on Monday night. Action tips off at 7 p.m. ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Bulls-Cavaliers prediction and pick, plus give details on how to watch this Central Division affair.
Chicago has won five of seven but still sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have covered 50% of their games while 53% of their games have gone under. Cleveland has lost three of its last four games but still sits in fourth in the East. The Cavaliers have covered 53% of their games while 54% of their games have gone under. This will be the second consecutive and third overall meeting between the division rivals. Cleveland took both previous matchups in Chicago.
Here are the Bulls-Cavaliers NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Bulls-Cavaliers Odds
Chicago Bulls: +4.5 (-108)
Cleveland Cavaliers: -4.5 (-112)
Over: 222.5 (-110)
Under: 222.5 (-110)
Why The Bulls Could Cover The Spread
Chicago battled with Cleveland in the most recent outing and has another great opportunity to keep things close again Monday. Despite the 103-102 loss, the Bulls found success against the Cavaliers thanks to their suffocating defense. The Bulls rank ninth in the league in forced turnovers — something that was on full display Saturday. Chicago held Cleveland to just 46% shooting and forced them into 21 turnovers. Guards Ayo Dosunmu (five steals), Coby White (three steals), and Alex Caruso (two steals) made life very difficult for the Cavaliers all night long. With Cleveland again expected to be without point guard Darius Garland, Chicago could find similar success Monday. Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell struggled mightily in the win (5-of-16 shooting and seven turnovers), and if the Bulls want to keep things close they'll need to build off their strong defensive showing.
For as good as Chicago's defense has been, they'll need their offense to show signs of life if they want to cover on the road against one of the best home teams in the league. The Bulls scored 96 and then 102 points in their previous two games with Cleveland. Regardless of how well they play defensively, those offensive outputs aren't going to be enough to keep the game close. That being said, the Bulls' offense has looked potent of late aside from their most recent outing. They've averaged 117.8 points across their last five games — 12th in the NBA over that span. They've been efficient during this time, turning the ball over just 10.6 times per game and shooting nearly 50% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc.
Wings DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine have been the catalysts for Chicago's improved offense of late. Both players are averaging over 27 points across their last five games. LaVine in particular has been much improved, averaging 3.2 made triples per game at a 47.1% clip. DeRozan leads the team in both scoring (28.2 PPG) and assists (6.4 APG) over that span — continuing what has been an incredible season from the 33-year-old. Although he has averaged just 17 points on 38.5% shooting against the Cavaliers this year, his season-long track record suggests he is due for a breakout performance.
Why The Cavaliers Could Cover The Spread
If Cleveland is going to cover as sizable favorites against a team they narrowly squeaked out a victory against, they're going to need to figure out how to take care of the ball without point guard Darius Garland. As noted, Cleveland turned the ball over 21 times on Saturday. They average 15.6 turnovers per game when Garland is unavailable — nearly two more than when he plays. That being said, the Cavaliers are 7-0 in games their point guard has missed. They average nearly seven more points per game without him. Forward Kevin Love and guard Caris LeVert seem to be the biggest beneficiaries of Garland's absences, with both players increasing their scoring averages by nearly five points per game when he sits.
With or without Garland, star Donovan Mitchell leads the Cavaliers in scoring and will likely be the biggest factor in whether or not they can cover. For the season, Mitchell averages 28.0 points and 4.6 assists while shooting 48.4% from the field and 41.1% from 3-point range on over nine 3-point attempts per game. The 26-year-old has predictably stepped up in games when Garland has been absent, increasing his scoring to 29.5 points per game and his playmaking to 6.8 assists per game. Although he is coming off one of his worst showings of the season on Saturday, Mitchell's track record is strong enough that he can be counted on to bounce back in this one.
While Garland is set to miss another game, Cleveland is hoping to get Evan Mobley back after he missed the last matchup. Mobley would provide a huge boost and make life much more difficult on Chicago. Keep an eye on the injury report.
Final Bulls-Cavaliers Prediction & Pick
Chicago battled on Saturday, but the Cavaliers are a whole different animal at home (16-4) and should easily dispatch the Bulls.
Final Bulls-Cavaliers Prediction & Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5 (-112)
How To Watch Bulls-Cavaliers
TV: NBCS Chicago, Bally OH
Stream: NBA League Pass
Time: 7 p.m. ET