The Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics close out their season series on Monday night at the TD Garden.
Chicago is 19-21 SU and 20-18-2 ATS on the season. They are in 9th place in the Eastern Conference team standings, 3.5 games behind the 6th seed, and an outright playoff spot. The Bulls are 8-12 SU and 10-9-1 ATS on the road this season and are coming off a win over the Utah Jazz in their last outing.
Boston is 28-12 SU and 21-18-1 ATS on the season. The Celtics have the best record in the NBA right now but are just one game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston is 15-5 SU and 12-8 ATS at home this season and they defeated the San Antonio Spurs last Saturday in their most recent game.
The Bulls lead the season series 2-1, including a 121-107 win in Chicago in their most recent head-to-head showdown last November 21.
The Bulls have won three straight games, beating the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Utah Jazz in succession. The winning streak comes after the team lost back-to-back games to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After playing the Celtics on Monday, the Bulls take on the Warriors to end the week.
DeMar DeRozan leads the Bulls in scoring at 26.4 points per game while Zach LaVine is also putting up 23.3 points per contest. Nikola Vucevic is putting up a double-double with 16.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while Patrick Williams is contributing 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per outing. Ayo Dosunmu is also scoring 9.8 points while grabbing 3.2 rebounds per game.
The Bulls are scoring 115.1 points per game this season. Chicago is shooting 49.0% from the floor, 4th best in the NBA, 37.7% from deep, and 81.1% from the free throw line. The Bulls are also ranked 10th in effective field goal percentage at 55.2%. Defensively, Chicago is allowing 115.5 points per game with opponents shooting 47.7% from the field and 37.2% from three-point distance.
With nearly half of the season completed, the Celtics stand atop the league standings with their 28-12 SU record. Boston is however just one game ahead of the streaking Brooklyn Nets in the race in the Eastern Conference. Boston snapped the Dallas Mavericks’ winning streak and then beat the Spurs last Saturday to win two in a row.
Jayson Tatum is having an MVP season averaging 30.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. Jalen Brown is also having a terrific season with 27.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. Malcolm Brogdon is contributing 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game while Marcus Smart is putting up 11.1 points, 7.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per contest.
Boston is the highest-scoring team in the NBA at 118.8 points per game this season. They shoot the ball at a 47.9% clip including 37.3% from deep. The Celtics are a pretty good free-throw shooting team at 82.3%. The Celtics are allowing 113.0 points per game, limiting opponents to 47.0% FG shooting and 35.6% three-point shooting.
The Bulls are 2-1 SU in their last 3 games played against the Celtics. Boston is 7-2 SU in their last 9 home games played against Chicago.
Chicago Bulls SU trends:
Boston Celtics SU trends:
The Celtics return home with back-to-back wins after suffering consecutive losses before that. Boston is however 6-2 SU in their last 8 games played.
In their last game, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 63 points as they beat the Spurs 121-116. Boston nearly blew a big lead but Jayson Tatum scored the go-ahead basket with 33.7 seconds left to play. Tatum finished with 34 points in another big game for the MVP candidate.
Malcolm Brogdon also had a big game with 23 points while Robert Williams III added 10 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 blocked shots.
The Bulls are just 19-21 on the season but are on their second three-game winning streak of the season. Chicago downed the Utah Jazz last Saturday 126-118 with Zach LaVine scoring 36 and DeMar DeRozan adding 35. One game earlier, LaVine put up 41 in a win over the Sixers.
These teams have played three times already this season with the home team winning each game. Tatum and DeRozan led their teams in scoring in all three games played. DeRozan scored a season-high 46 in a loss to the Celtics last November 4th. The Bulls responded with a 121-107 home win on November 21, ending the Celtics’ 9-game winning streak.
Both teams are playing well right now but looking at both teams, the Celtics have the better lineup and they have been a very solid home team this season. Look for the Bulls to go toe-to-toe with the Celtics. But I expect Boston to emerge victorious behind another strong game from Tatum.
Prediction: Boston Celtics
The Bulls are 7-1 ATS in the last 8 games played between these two teams. Chicago is also 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games played in Boston.
Chicago Bulls ATS trends:
Boston Celtics ATS trends:
I like the Celtics to win at home. However, I find value in the Bulls at +8.5 points as Chicago is playing much better right now than they did at the start of the year. The Celtics are allowing opponents to shoot 45.5% from midrange, the 8th-highest percentage league-wise. That means that mid-range kind DeMar DeRozan will likely have a big game here. Although he may not be able to carry the Bulls to an outright victory, I see his team covering this spread.
The Bulls are 15-10-2 ATS as underdogs this season and 10-6-1 ATS as road underdogs this campaign. Chicago is also 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games played on one day’s rest while the Celtics are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 overall, and 0-3 ATS in their first three games against the Bulls this season.
Prediction: Chicago Bulls +8.5
The total has gone under in 7 out of the last 10 games played between these two teams. The over is 23-8 in the last 31 meetings between these two teams in Boston.
Chicago Bulls over/under trends:
Boston Celtics over/under trends:
The Celtics are the league’s top-scoring team and they rely on their scoring prowess to cover up for a defense that hasn’t been as good as it was during the previous season.
Meanwhile, the Bulls are allowing opponents an effective field goal percentage of 55.5%, the fourth-highest in the NBA this season. They also allow the second-highest effective three-point shooting percentage in the league this year at 55.8% so the C’s should have no major issues putting up points on the scoreboard.
The Bulls have seen the total go at least 238 points thrice in their last four games played and they have scored at least 120 points in all four games. Meanwhile, the Celtics have conceded an average of 121 points per game in their last four games played including 150 against the Thunder three games ago.
The over has covered 60% of the Bulls’ road games this season. The over is also 13-3 in the Celtics’ last 16 home games against an opponent with a losing road record. I see a shootout on Monday.
Prediction: Over 237.5
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