The league’s two stingiest defenses meet up tonight as the Philadelphia 76ers (15-6, 11-2) get set to host Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls (18-5, 9-4 away), in what is certain to be one of the top match-ups for online sports betting at one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed right here.
After a tough loss which saw the Bulls let a game slip away late to the Miami Heat on Sunday, Derrick Rose (23.3 points, 7.8 assists/game) will personally look to continue building his confidence after he missed two free throws and a game-tying jump shot in what turned out to cost Chicago the win, falling 97-93 in South Florida. Though regaining some poise after Monday night’s win at Washington against the push-over Wizards, Rose and the Bulls will get their second big road test during their season-high 9-game spell away from the United Center, butting heads with the league’s stingiest defense that is allowing just 86.1 points to opposing teams.
Philadelphia has surprised many with their well-balanced play this year, also ranking among the top teams in the league in scoring (8th, 97.5 points/game) behind 8 players that are averaging better than 9.5 points per contest. Led by the pair of point guards Lou Williams (15.3 points, 3.7 assists) and Jrue Holiday (14.2 points, 4.7 assists, the Sixers have established themselves as a credible playoff challenger, and have more than enough collective firepower to match any team in the NBA this season. Also helping their bottom line out is the fact that Philadelphia is the league’s top defensive rebounding squad, pulling down 34.3 rebounds on the defensive glass per game, with 36.0 rebounds per game while on home court. That stat alone may be a big factor in tonight’s game as the Sixers go up against the league’s overall best rebounding team, which is averaging 45.3 boards per contest and leads the league in rebounding on the road with 44 per game. Thus, Philly’s big boys including Andre Iguodala (averaging 12.9 points, 6.6 rebounds), Elton Brand (10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds) and center Spencer Hawes (10.4 points, 8.8 rebounds) will be tasked tonight with winning the rebounding margin against a fleet of agile, aggressive Chicago Bulls players in the paint.
Chicago on the other hand may lean a bit more on their star player, last season’s NBA MVP Derrick Rose, but nonetheless this Bulls team continues to get better with more experience playing together, and a good mix of young talent and veteran leadership. With the addition of Rip Hamilton (14.2 points, 3.6 assists) coming over from the Detroit Pistons this year, the Bulls have an excellent ability to hurt opposing teams with shots from beyond the arc while away from home (3rd in the NBA at %40.4 percent from 3-pt. range on the road) and overall have the league’s 3rd-best shooting percentage on the road at 46.9 percent, which is a percentage point better than they are shooting at home. While there’s not much of an advantage that teams can take away from Chicago, one area that can be exploited is the turnover margin, as while the Bulls overall are reasonably protective of the ball (issuing 13.7 turnovers/game, 7th best in the league), on the road it’s been a different story. Turning the ball over an average of 16.3 times when away from home, Chicago needs to do a better job protecting the rock, especially tonight against a hounding, annoying defense like Philadelphia has. With these two teams not giving up points easily, and both holding teams under 90 points per game on the season, the turnover margin could be very telling for the bottom line score in tonight’s match-up.
For Chicago to pull away with a road victory tonight, they are going to have to avoid becoming too dependent on Derrick Rose, who in these two teams’ last meeting scored 31 points, but also coughed the ball up 10 times, which certainly contributed towards a 97-85 win for Philadelphia. Rose can be expected to get his 25-30 points per game, but unless his supporting cast, including Luol Deng (15.9 points, 7.5 boards), Carlos Boozer (15.1 points, 8.6 rebounds) and Rip Hamilton get into the mid-double digits, Chicago can get frustrated and rely on Derrick Rose too much. While Rose has shot very well against Philadelphia in 11 games against them during his career (%.51.1 from the floor, 22.0 points/game), if the Sixers can apply enough pressure against the other Bulls top scorers, Rose will try to carry the load, which may in turn result in many more questionable shots being put up from outside. When Rose gets help with hot hands inside the paint, he’s free to penetrate the lanes and that is where he truly shines. When left outside to attempt contested shots, Rose can be frustrated and cost his team valuable possessions. Therefore, making every shot count against the league’s best defensive rebounding side, and getting step-up play from the interior, will be key for a Bulls win on the road against Philly.
Betting Lines for Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers at Intertops Sportsbook
With the two top defensive sides in the league pared against one another, Chicago comes into this match-up as a slight favorite to win on the money line at Intertops Sportsbook, getting -125 odds. Philadelphia trails as an underdog at home with +105 odds on the money line, but indicative of how close this game should be towards the end, the spread is very tight at 1.5 points, with Chicago needing to cover 1.5 points (-110 odds) and Philadelphia getting 1.5 points to play with for against the spread pickers. As expected, the over/under is one of the lowest of the year for any NBA match-up, and the first one we’ve seen below 180 total points at 178.5, exaggerated by Philadelphia’s relatively weak offensive form in their last few games played.
Our Pick to Win:
While this game should be close down to the final minutes as defense reigns supreme in tonight’s match-up, I like Chicago to prevail in tonight’s game based on the fact that their offense is building confidence after a road win on Monday night, and Philadelphia is struggling a bit to find their own shooting form. While expectations are high that this should be a tight game based on the caliber of the defenses involved, I see Philadelphia succumbing to the agility and physical play of the Bulls down the home stretch, especially if the Sixers are forced into relying on outside shooting in the face of good inside presence from the Bulls’ Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Using their scoring depth and and the explosive ability of Derrick Rose to get into the lanes and score points, Chicago prevails tonight with an 88-80 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, helping to bust through the over bet on total points and beat the spread at Intertops Sportsbook.