The Chicago Bulls open as betting favorites for the first time this season as they welcome the 1-3 Indiana Pacers to the United Center.
The Chicago Bulls got back on the right track Monday night at home against the Boston Celtics with a 120-102 win as 6-point underdogs. Tonight, after four games, they find themselves as big favorites over a struggling Indiana Pacers team.
The Chicago Bulls injury designations continue to improve with zero questionable or probables on the docket, while Indiana has a couple of key inside defenders potentially sitting this one out. Daniel Theis has been ruled out for tonight’s game, and Myles Turner remains questionable. Turner has yet to make his debut, and while I hate to speculate injuries or lack of injuries, given the odds on the spread and total for this game, I am under the impression that Turner will not play.
If Turner can’t go, this Chicago Bulls squad has a fantastic opportunity to build off of their offensive success from Monday’s game, and should give their key players a huge edge for an efficient night. Let’s keep the wins rolling in for these best bets, and let’s get our Bulls across the .500 mark tonight at home! Let’s see some red and Go Bulls!
Chicago Bulls Team Total Over 121.5 (Sportsbook odds may vary)
If you are looking at this number and wondering if this number is too high to crack, I am going to illustrate how bad this Indiana defense has been. Before I go into that, I mentioned Myles Turner may not play tonight with an ankle injury and has yet to make his debut this season.
Even if Turner does play tonight, this Pacers team is still greatly flawed, but without him, Indiana has been tormented by opposing big men. Whether that is Joel Embiid or San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl, true centers with scoring ability have been the death of this Indiana defense, giving you strong confidence that Nikola Vucevic should be a huge factor in securing not only a win for the Bulls, but a huge scoring night for the offense.
While it certainly is incredibly early in the NBA season, this Indiana team has been atrocious, and with the ‘tankapalooza’ buzz surrounding Victor Wembanyama, you can feel comfortable knowing a Pacers team projected near the bottom of the league is probably very interested in putting themselves into a position to land the star prospect. Thus far, their lack of defensive competence has certainly set themselves up for a long season regardless of how healthy this team is.
Heading into tonight’s game the Pacers rank 25th in defensive efficiency, 26th in effective field goal percentage, 29th in 3-point percentage, and last in opponent free throws attempted per game. The Chicago Bulls are not exactly putting fear into teams from behind the three-point line, but with a 47.6% shooting night on Monday, I do feel confident in them staying hot, considering the opportunities that they will see. Even considering the hot night Monday, a great night from beyond the arc may not be necessary to get this offensive into the 120s.
The biggest stat to feel optimistic about that was listed above, is the free throw attempts that Indiana allows. Vucevic, LaVine, and Demar Derozan will almost undoubtedly see a high number of free throw attempts in this game from open to close. Ranking third in free throws attempted per game, and sixth in free throw percentage, this Bulls team will have a massive edge from top to bottom against a foul happy team in the Pacers tonight.
Let’s take a look back at Indiana’s 137-134 loss to the Spurs last week to see just how insane the free throw numbers can be. Guards Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, and Josh Richardson combined for 15-17 from the free throw line, hitting five each. I don’t know about you but, LaVine, Derozan and the rest of Chicago’s guards put a little more fear into a defense than that trio of guards does. I also mentioned Poeltl earlier, who over 29 minutes scored 21 points and 8 rebounds, attempting a whopping 21 free throws, scoring 13 of them.
The strategy in that game may have been ‘hack-a-Poeltl’ with his career 52% free throw numbers, but one way or another, Vucevic will see a huge amount of scoring opportunities, or a giant number of free throw opportunities tonight against this defense.
I would be interested in the spread tonight, but with some guards that could exploit this Chicago Bulls defense, I am a little hesitant to fire away on a total beatdown in both facets of the game. Instead, I’ll take full solace in this Bulls’ offense to have a massive night, and in addition, gave you some bonus plays below to consider. Let’s keep things rolling tonight! Best of luck and GO BULLS!!
Ayo Dosunmu Over 1.5 3’s
Nikola Vucevic Over 11.5 Rebounds
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