The first meeting of the season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls is set for Wednesday night, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and odds for this Central Division showdown at United Center in Chicago.
The Bulls are 5.5-point favorites at the moment, according to BetRivers Sportsbook, while the totals sit at 218.0 points. Chicago misses Garrett Temple (ankle), while Wendell Carter Jr. (shoulder) is listed as questionable. On the other side, Cleveland is without Kevin Love (calf), Andre Drummond (rest), and Taurean Prince (shoulder).
The Cavaliers failed to cope with the Kings’ offense
The Cleveland Cavaliers (16-27; 17-26 ATS) wrapped up a four-game homestand this past Monday, suffering a 119-105 loss to the Sacramento Kings as 4.5-point underdogs. They allowed the Kings to shoot 54.4% from the field and knock down 13 triples out of 30 attempts (43.3%), while the Cavs went just 4-for-17 from beyond the arc (23.5%).
The Cavs have won only two of their previous eight games overall. They sit at the 12th spot of the Eastern Conference standings, five games behind the No. 8 seed, so the Cavaliers are already in a tough situation.
Cleveland scores just 105.4 points per 100 possessions (29th in the NBA) on 50.6 effective field goal percentage (also 29th). The Cavs dish out 23.2 assists a night (23rd) while making 34.2% of their 3-point attempts (29th).
The Bulls fell apart last time out
The Chicago Bulls (19-23; 23-18-1 ATS) are coming off a heavy 120-95 defeat to the Utah Jazz this past Monday. They scored a paltry 42 first-half points and trailed by double-digits for most of the game, tallying their third loss in the last four outings. During that stretch, the Bulls beat Detroit 100-86 while losing to San Antonio 106-99 and at Denver 131-127 in overtime.
Chicago is ninth in the East, trailing 1.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics. The Bulls are keen to reach the postseason for the first time since 2017 when they exited in the first round, but they have to improve on both sides of the ball.
Although they rank seventh in effective field goal percentage (55.2%), the Bulls score 111.5 points per 100 possessions (17th in the NBA). They surrender 112.0 points in a return (14th) on 47.2% shooting from the field (22nd) and 34.6% from deep (3rd).
- 2-5 ATS in the last seven games overall
- 2-12 ATS in the last 14 tilts on the road
- 14-5 ATS in the last 19 games against Cleveland
- 5-2 ATS in the last seven outings as favorites
The Bulls have to regroup following a heavy loss to the Jazz and win this one over Cleveland. If they want to make it to the playoffs, the Bulls just have to win games like this one, and I hope they’ll thrive under pressure.
The Cavaliers are pretty limited on both sides of the floor. I’ve mentioned their sterile offense, while the Cavs’ defensive rating is the eighth-worst in the NBA (113.4). Each of Cleveland’s last five losses came by six or more points.
Pick: Take Chicago Bulls -5.5 at -110
The under is 6-1 in the Cavs’ last seven outings, but their last four games produced more than 218 points in total each. On the other side, five of the Bulls’ last seven games produced fewer than 218 points in total, and the under is 6-1 in that stretch, so I will follow the betting trends.
Chicago is unpredictable and likes to play at a fast pace. The Bulls average 100.8 possessions per 48 minutes (6th in the league), while the Cavs record only 97.5 (26th).
Pick: Go under 218.0 points at -110