The Chicago Bulls head to TD Garden on Monday night to face off against the Boston Celtics, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and odds for their Eastern Conference showdown that opens Week 17 of the 2020-21 NBA season.
Back in January, the Celtics beat the Bulls 119-103 as 3.5-point road favorites in the first of their three-game regular-season series. Boston has owned Chicago over the last few years, winning 12 of their previous 14 encounters, and the Celtics are firm favorites to win this one on PointsBet Sportsbook.
The Bulls are coming without their best player, as Zach LaVine is sidelined due to the COVID-19 medical protocols. On the other side, the Celtics are without Robert Williams (knee), while Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Evan Fournier are all questionable to play.
Chicago beat Cleveland to stop a five-game slide
The Chicago Bulls (23-33; 29-26-1 ATS) are coming off a 106-96 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers this past Saturday. They put an end to a five-game losing streak thanks to a strong offensive performance.
The Bulls shot 50.0% from the field and 40.0% from beyond the arc while handing out 30 assists and committing just ten turnovers. Nikola Vucevic accounted for 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, while Lauri Markkanen added 16 points and six boards off the bench.
Chicago is tied with Washington for the tenth seed in the East, trailing six and a half games behind the No. 6 seed. The Bulls continue to battle for the play-in round, while the 12th-seeded Raptors are only half a game behind them.
Boston aims for its seventh straight victory
For the first time this season, the Boston Celtics (31-26; 29-28 ATS) are rolling on a six-game winning streak. They are coming off a 119-114 home win to the Golden State Warriors last Saturday, as Brad Stevens’ boys overcame a 16-point deficit.
The Celtics dished out only 18 assists while making 46.8% of their field goals and 32.6% of their 3-pointers. However, they turned the ball over just nine times, and Jayson Tatum was unstoppable, posting a double-double of 44 points and 10 rebounds.
Boston sits at the fourth spot of the Eastern Conference standings, just half a game ahead of the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks and four and a half games behind the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics are one of the hottest teams in the league and need to stay on the winning path if they want to keep pace with Milwaukee.
- 1-5 ATS in the last six games overall
- 0-5 ATS in the last five road games against the Celtics
- 10-2 ATS in the last 12 games against the Bulls
- 5-0 ATS in the last five games overall
As I’ve mentioned, the Celtics have dominated the Bulls lately, going 12-2 straight up and ATS in their previous 14 matchups. Both teams have serious problems ahead of Monday’s clash and will miss some key players, so we should see an exciting, hard-fought battle.
I’m sticking with the betting trends in this one. The Celtics possess more depth than the Bulls. Jayson Tatum has been terrific over the last two weeks, averaging 28.9 points per game, while the Bulls will miss Zach LaVine a lot.
Pick: Take Boston Celtics -6.5 at -110
Considering all the missing players on both sides, I doubt the teams’ chances to combine for more than 224 points in total. The Celtics have improved defensively and prefer to play at a slower pace, recording 97.9 possessions per 48 minutes (21st in the NBA), while the Bulls tally 99.8 (11th).
Chicago cannot rush things without Zach LaVine. The under is 14-6 in the Bulls’ last 20 meetings with the Eastern Conference, and it is 10-4 in their previous 14 encounters with the Celtics.
Pick: Go under 224.5 points at -110