These are interesting times in Chicago. For so long, the prospect of Derrick Rose making a late impression on this season has made the Bulls an attractive outside bet to emerge as title contenders in the spring. But with friction between team and player highlighted by the former MVP’s brother and manager, it’s looking less probable that the guard will be rushing back into action.
That spells doom for the Bulls’ championship hopes. Although they still figure to be a thorn in many teams’ sides, you do wonder if the news that Luol Deng will skip Great Britain’s European campaign this summer suggests that Chicago’s leading lights are being worn down by the battle to stay relevant in Rose’s absence.
They head to Oklahoma City on Sunday with just two wins in their last five games (against woeful Charlotte and New Orleans) and with heavy reverses to Miami and San Antonio. The Thunder figure to cause them multiple problems, especially an offence, which is averaging a league-high 106.7 points. OKC are favoured by -9 on the handicap and although Chicago could slow their hosts down, they don’t look to have enough firepower to win out.
Golden State have bounced back from a disappointing six-game skid with wins over San Antonio and Phoenix but they’ll head to Minnesota today looking to improve on a less than impressive 14-16 record on the road. Losing Andrew Bogut is a blow for the Warriors, with the Australian sustaining a back injury that will keep him out indefinitely. If Kevin Love were around, the Timberwolves would figure to take advantage inside but although Nikola Pekovic is much-improved, it’s advantage Golden State on the handicap of -1 at a generous 1.95. But with the visitors scoring big of late, consider going over the total points line of 204.5 at 1.91.
Boston go to Portland as 2.10 underdogs to see off the Blazers. But with the hosts losing seven in a row and with their defence in shreds, have a punt on the Celtics.
Bet of the day: Take Golden State on the handicap over Minnesota