More post All Star Game NBA action as the Boston Celtics travel to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls. So many teams in the running for the most miserable in the NBA and the Bulls are definitely a candidate. For anyone who remembers back when the United Center was a truly nasty place for visiting teams to play back in the Michael Jordan era the performance of this year’s Bulls’ team at home is downright shocking. Chicago is 6-23 SU/11-18 ATS in their own building. Not that they’re any great shakes on the road–they’re 9-21 SU away from home but somehow have a winning pointspread record (15-13-1). The Bulls played last night in Orlando as they beat the Magic outright by 1 point as +8.5 underdogs.
The Boston Celtics got off to something of a substandard start to the season. In early December they were 12-10 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They’ve been playing better since then but so has the rest of the conference. Boston is now 37-22 SU/30-28-1 ATS but they’ve only managed to claw into 5th place. They’ve got plenty of separation from the sixth place Brooklyn Nets who the lead by 7.5 games and they’re in a pack of second tier teams 1 game back of fourth place Philadelphia and 2 games back of third place Indiana. They’ve still got some work to do if they’re going to catch the teams at the top of the division–they’re 6.5 games behind second place Toronto and 7.5 back of first place Milwaukee. They’re coming in off a tough 1 point loss to the Bucks at Milwaukee on Thursday night which they covered as +6.5 point underdogs.
In theory, it’s tough to lay -10.5 points on the road in the NBA but this game sets up perfectly for the favorite. They’ve lost 3 of their last 5 games including hard fought 1 point decisions to the Lakers and Bucks. They won’t have any travel issues making the 90 minute trip from Milwaukee to Chicago meaning that the Celtics will be rested. Chicago, on the other hand, is coming off a hard fought win and making the trip back from Orlando for this game. The Bulls could be feeling good about themselves. Wins haven’t been easy to come by for Chicago of late and they’re on a 5-11 SU/6-9-1 ATS run. They’ve now won two straight beating lowly Memphis in their final game before the break and an Orlando team that has been playing good basketball of late (7-3 SU/ATS L10).
They’ll run into a cold dose of reality in the form of the Boston Celtics. Boston has absolutely dominated Chicago of late winning five straight head to head (4-0-1 ATS) and 9 of the last 10 meetings SU/ATS. Four of the last five matchups with Chicago were double digit Celtics’ wins and they simply obliterated the Bulls in two meetings so far this season. Boston won 111-82 at home on November 14 and 133-77 at Chicago on December 8. The former was the worst loss in the 53 year history of the Bulls franchise. Don’t go thinking about ‘revenge’ for that last beatdown–Bulls are 4-17 SU/8-12 ATS revenging a home loss. All told, that’s an average margin of victory for Boston of 42.5 PPG in this year’s matchups against the Bulls. Ouch.
Want more? The Bulls are 1-12 SU/3-10 ATS after a straight up win this year and 5-19 SU/9-14-1 ATS after a pointspread cover this season. They’re 2-7 SU/4-5 ATS in the second of back to back games including 0-2 SU/ATS in away to home back to back spots. The Celtics need all the wins they can get and after this they’ve got a big game against the Raptors at Toronto followed by a home game against a tough Portland team. The good news is that game isn’t until Tuesday meaning their full focus will be on Chicago here. Boston might not win by 56 points this time but they’ll win by enough to cover this number. Also worth noting–the last 8 meetings between the Bulls and Celtics have gone ‘Under’ the total.