The Chicago Bulls will show their team to the home fans, hoping that the future of young talents will shine bright enough so that their deficiencies are blurred. Unfortunately for them, the San Antonio Spurs team thrives on exposing opposition flaws and never forgives a lack of focus.
Spurs at Bulls
Spread: San Antonio -8 (-110) at BetDSI Sportsbook
Total: o/u 202 (-110)
The Spurs win opener comfortably without Leonard
As it was planned, the San Antonio Spurs have relied on resurrected LaMarcus Aldridge and strong defense to beat the up-and-coming Timberwolves team. It’s a common recipe for the model franchise – no big names, no pompous announcement, but a steady, fundamentally strong basketball that leads to win after win. Of course, they’d like to see Kawhi Leonard healthy and playing, but won’t rush him, not even if they lose. He’s their best player, and probably the best two-way player in the league, but they didn’t look much differently in the win. They led for most of the game, and when the Wolves managed to spur a comeback run in the first part of the final quarter, the Spurs responded by locking their defense and allowed just 2 field goals in the last 5 minutes of the game.
Past weeks have been all about making Aldridge feel comfortable again. He never was comfortable with his role with Spurs and came out with it to coach Pop, prompting a shift of approach. Pop realized how to change his offense to accommodate the big man, and it lead to much better chemistry and a 3-year extension that LMA signed a couple of days ago. It showed. Aldridge dominated with 25 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists, while also playing a key role in numerous other offensive actions that don’t show up in the stat sheet. The ball moved well for the Spurs and players were taking their open shots, understanding that they would have to pick up the missing points. I honestly couldn’t remember Danny Green being so poised and aggressive. He was a key sidekick with 17 points and defense-stretching role, while also doing a fabulous job defensively.
Kawhi Leonard has no timetable to return, but considering that he hasn’t done much else than shoot free throws at practice, I’d say he won’t play in Chicago, or anytime soon. There are no other, new injuries, so the Spurs will have the same look against the Bulls.
Place: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Date/Time: Saturday, October 21st, 2017. 8:00 PM ET
TV Coverage: WGN-TV, FSSW
Bulls reserve get into fight, shorthanded team left with no chance
The Chicago Bulls were supposed to be bad, so losing the season-opening game by 17 points in Toronto came to no surprise. However, it’s not their rebuilding that has shifted the attention away from this blowout loss, but an incident preceding the game.
Open competition for starter’s spots can sometimes motivate teammates to fight for it, but it seems that Mirotic and Portis took thing a little too literally. After one of the last preseason practices was over, Mirotic reportedly charged at Portis, who ended the skirmish with a single punch to Mirotic’s face, sending him to the hospital. Portis got suspended for 8 games and Mirotic will miss a couple of month after facial reconstruction surgery that is yet to take place. This leaves Bulls without two rotation guys, but more importantly, tells us about the poisonous atmosphere in their locker room. Even though only two players took part in this event, the teammates are known to take sides, so I pretty sure that team chemistry is at all time low. Coach Hoiberg doesn’t have enough credibility and respect to end it right now, so the Bulls will have to cope with it for some time.
They aren’t too talented even without such distractions, but it’s still going to affect their play. And they didn’t show us much good in Toronto. They were down 20 by halftime and never threatened to close the gap afterwards. Their defense was leaky both inside and outside, and there’s something broken about your offense when your top point scorer is Robin Lopez. Without the pair of forwards, Dunn, LaVine and Payne, Bulls bench resembled a G-League dropout pick-up game squad.
San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls Game Trends & Prediction
The Spurs were underestimated in the opener, due to a combination of bandwagoning with Wolves and Leonard’s absence, so I hope you followed my advice to turn it into a nice profit. The game was also an over by 3 points, but it’s worth noting that it looked more safe through the game, as the defenses tightened and the tempo dropped only in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls were a big underdog in Canada, but not even 13.5 points of free help were enough for this sorry performance. Such large handicaps can often be covered back door, after the big jolly loses interest, but with Chicago having such a terrible second unit, don’t count on it. As they gave up 117, the total points went over rather low line, so this is a thing worth keeping an on.
A unique ranking system – AdmiRank helps you understand how good NBA teams are on a scale to 100. There’s a big difference between the two teams even with full rosters, and not accounting for the bad blood in Bulls roster. The Bulls would have to play their absolute best to stand a chance if Leonard would play.
There’s no doubt that the Bulls will be aided with a large number of points on most occasions, even when their foes aren’t at full strength. They currently look as one of the worst teams in the league, so while the Spurs aren’t at their top game yet, you shouldn’t be surprised by the 8-point spread. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to objectively give them more. They don’t play to impress and will be pleased by any 10 points margin in the game, as they know that they can rely on their defense to protect it. So I’m not going to invest on the spread offer. I’m going after over points. 202 is a rather low line for today’s NBA standards, and the Spurs and Bulls don’t play the same way as last year. According to my estimations, the line should be set at 206-208 range, which gives us enough of a space to go after the points.
My Pick: (no spread bets on this game)
Total: over 202 (-110)
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