Chicago defeated Brooklyn by eight points in the previous matchup back in April. Chicago will need to replicate that performance as the Bulls are hanging onto their playoff hopes for dear life at this point. Brooklyn broke a four-game losing streak with a six-point win in Denver and will look to build on the momentum to secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Nets-Bulls odds.
NBA Odds: Nets-Bulls Odds
Brooklyn Nets -5.5 (-105)
Chicago Bulls +5.5 (-115)
Over 232 Points (-110)
Under 232 Points (-110)
Why The Nets Could Cover The Spread
The Brooklyn Nets are reeling of late and have no timetable on James Harden’s return yet. He will be out of action for this game, which will leave it up to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to carry the load yet again. Luckily for the Nets, KD has been on fire since returning from injury back in April. Durant is shooting at a ridiculous clip since making his return to the court and if he can keep the shooting numbers up, this team won’t lose a whole lot of games come postseason time.
Kyrie Irving has also been a monster lately, scoring at least 31 points in three-straight games coming in. He is sinking 53% of his threes during the recent stretch, too. If Joe Harris and Landry Shamet can continue to space the floor, KD and Kyrie should have no problem getting theirs against the Bulls’ below-average defense. The difference in this matchup will be Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan’s ability to slow Nikola Vucevic down. Brooklyn has a solid track record against Chicago as they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games at the United Center.
Why The Bulls Could Cover The Spread
The Chicago Bulls’ Big Two will need to be especially great against the Nets in order to cover at home. If Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic play the way they’ve been playing of late, Chicago should be able to keep up in this game. With both teams lacking depth at the moment, it’s really going to be a battle at the top. In last month’s upset victory, LaVine and Vucevic went for a solid 47 points combined. If role players Coby White and Lauri Markkanen can play up to their potential, the Bulls have a good chance against the reeling Nets.
Chicago comes in riding a three-game winning streak. During the streak, Vucevic, LaVine, and White have combined to score over 67 points per game. It’s interesting to think about where this team might be right now if LaVine hadn’t missed 11 games due to COVID. Against a lackluster Nets defense, these three should have no problem maintaining this level of play. As surprising as this may sound, the Bulls are actually the superior defensive team by a significant margin. Teams seem to get up for games against the Nets, which I expect the Bulls to do in this matchup with little season left.
Final Nets-Bulls Prediction & Pick
With no Harden on the floor, I actually give the outright edge to Chicago in this matchup. Brooklyn secured a huge victory against the Nuggets in their last game, but the truth is this team is still struggling and has a lot to figure out as the season winds down. Chicago has been lights out in its last three games and looks like a juggernaut with White, LaVine, and Vucevic on the floor together. I don’t think that this Bulls team believes they’re out of the playoff race yet and I see them fighting until the final bell. Brooklyn may come away with a win, but 5.5 points are too many in this matchup.
FINAL PICK: Chicago Bulls +5.5 (-115)