The Denver Nuggets will take on the Chicago Bulls as the two squads meet in a Sunday evening showdown at the United Center. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Nuggets-Bulls prediction and pick.
The Nuggets fell 131-112 to the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Nikola Jokic led the way with 29 points on 12 for 20 shooting. Moreover, he went 2 for 4 from the 3-point line. Jokic also gobbled up eight rebounds. Additionally, Aaron Gordon had 17 points while shooting 6 for 10 from the floor. He also brought down seven boards. Also, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came off the bench to score 15 points while shooting 5 for 11 from the field. He scored all of his points from the triples. Conversely, Jamal Murray did not excel. He only had 14 points while shooting 6 for 17 from the field. However, he also delivered 10 assists. Meanwhile, Bruce Brown contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.
The Bulls lost 115-111 in a thrilling back-and-forth with the New Orleans Pelicans. DeMar DeRozan played exceptionally well with 33 points while shooting 14 for 26 from the field. Meanwhile, Zach LaVine added 23 points while shooting 9 for 22 from the floor. Mikola Vucevic added 18 points while making 66 percent of his shots. Lastly, Goran Dragic had 14 points with six assists.
The Bulls swept the season series last season. They won 109-97 at the United Center and 114-108 at Ball Arena.
Here are the Nuggets-Bulls NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Nuggets-Bulls Odds
Denver Nuggets: -2 (-110)
Chicago Bulls: +2 (-110)
Over: 230 (-110)
Under: 230 (-110)
Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
The Nuggets are supposed to be one of the best teams, and starting 8-4 has put a good mark on the season. Conversely, they have lost to bad teams. Denver must consistently beat teams they should.
Jokic is an all-around leader. He can shoot, rebound, distribute and defend. Jokic averages 21.8 points per game. Moreover, he has 9.8 rebounds per game and 8.5 assists per game. Jokic is a threat no matter where he is on the floor. Consequently, the Bulls have not handled him well, but it did not hurt them last season.
Michael Porter Jr. continues to perform well. Hence, he is the next guy in line when teams converge on Jokic. Porter averages 16.8 points per game with 6.9 rebounds per game. Additionally, Murray averages 15.5 points per game and seven rebounds per game. Gordon averages 14.6 points per game and is shooting 57.1 percent from the field.
The Nuggets are a talented team. Likewise, they have hit their shots when they have spaced themselves on the floor. The Nuggets rank first in field goal percentage and first in 3-point shooting percentage. Consequently, teams are not doing enough to defend their shots. Denver can find open space and deliver. Thus, it propelled them to the top of the rankings. The Nuggets struggle at the charity stripe. Unfortunately, they rank 25th in free-throw shooting percentage.,
The Nuggets lost to the Bulls at the United Center last year because Chicago outshot them. Moreover, the Bulls won the battle of the boards and Jokic shot 6 for 17 from the floor.
The Nuggets will cover the spread if they can hit their open and contested shots. Additionally, they must do everything they can to stop DeRozan and LaVine from destroying them on the other end.
Why The Bulls Could Cover The Spread
The Bulls are toiling in mediocrity with a 6-7 record. Subsequently, they have not played since Wednesday and hope the extra time off will give them the best opportunity to win this game.
DeRozan averages 24.5 points per game and shoots 50.7 percent from the field. Additionally, LaVine averages 22 points per game but shoots a paltry 43.6 percent from the field. Vucevic has become a great contributor, averaging 16.5 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. Consequently, field goal shooting has become an issue.
The Bulls rank 19th in field goal shooting percentage. However, they rank 12th from the 3-point line, highlighting a slight ability to hit the long shot. The Bulls rank second in free throw shooting percentage. Subsequently, the Bulls completed 100 percent of their opportunities at the charity stripe in one of the two victories last year, converting all 24 shots.
The Bulls won the battle of the boards in both wins over the Nuggets. Additionally, their ability to hit free throws and also convert shots propelled them.
The Bulls will cover the spread if they can stop Jokic and force the Nuggets to go to someone else. Also, LaVine and DeRozan must dominate and showcase their abilities.
Final Nuggets-Bulls Prediction & Pick
The Nuggets are the better team. However, the Bulls have had time off since Wednesday and look to get the sting of a loss to the Pelicans out of their system. Expect the Bulls to come out swinging and take the spread.