The Celtics hold an overall record of 9-6 and are 8-7 against the spread. Boston is coming off a blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Celtics-Bulls odds.
NBA Odds: Celtics-Bulls Odds
Boston Celtics -4 (-110)
Chicago Bulls +4 (-110)
Over 228 Points (-105)
Under 228 Points (-115)
Why The Bulls Could Cover The Spread
While Chicago’s overall record isn’t impressive, the Bulls have developed a habit of sticking around with tougher opponents.
In their most recent game, the Bulls went down by as many as 3o points to an excellent Lakers team, but they fought back to lose by only 11, one point short of covering.
In their last ten games, Chicago has been an underdog nine times. They are 8-1 against the spread over that span, covering every single game except for the aforementioned Lakers matchup.
Now, Chicago gets the chance to improve that record against a Celtics team on the second night of a road back-to-back.
As a gritty team that has lost by double-digits twice since New Years, the Bulls could stick around late yet again.
Look for a Bulls team that plays at the second highest pace in the league to push the tempo against a Celtics team that might be fatigued after yesterday’s game.
Without Kemba Walker, the Celtics won’t have.true PG to control the tempo. Jayson Tatum is back, but he might have to shake off some rust after missing so much time.
The Bulls have a shot to ambush the C’s at home. Their best opportunity will be to jump out early against the Celtics and hold off a prolonged Boston run.
Why The Celtics Could Cover The Spread
The biggest factor in this game will be the return on Jayson Tatum.
After missing five games due to COVID-19 quarantine protocols, the young Celtics star takes the court for his 11th game of the season.
In those 10 games, the Celtics have posted a stellar 7-3 record, with two of the losses coming by a combined margin of four points.
The only time the Celtics ever truly looked outmatched with Tatum played Christmas Day against the Brooklyn Nets.
The silver lining in Tatum’s absence was the excellent play of Jaylen Brown.
Brown lit the league up as the Celtics main scorer, averaging 29.4 points on 52% shooting in the games Tatum missed. Most recently, Brown dropped 33 points on the Cavaliers in just 19 minutes of play.
Boston should be confident in their ability to overwhelm the defensively challenged Bulls with Tatum back in the lineup and Brown still red hot.
Even without Kemba Walker in the lineup for rest purposes, the Celtics offense should have enough in the tank to put up numbers on a Bulls defense that allows the third most points in the league and the fourth-highest opponent field-goal percentage.
Final Celtics-Bulls Prediction & Pick
With Tatum back on the floor, I can’t see the Bulls defense doing enough tonight to hold the Celtics down. Unless Zach LaVine absolutely torches a solid C’s defense, Boston should win this one comfortably. I’ll take Boston to cover the small spread and get the road win.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: BOS 117, CHI 108