Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics - 1/2/14
Boston Celtics (13-18) at Chicago Bulls (12-18)
NBA Basketball: Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Bulls -4.5 -- Over/Under: 185.5 See the Latest Odds
The Chicago Bulls look to avoid a third straight home loss when they welcome the Boston Celtics to town tonight.
The Bulls have won three of their last five but are coming off a disappointing 85-79 loss at home against the rising Raptors. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 16 points in his return to the court after missing five games, while Jimmy Butler added 15 points, but the Bulls just couldn't get a shot to drop in the fourth quarter, getting outscored by 28-17 for their sixth loss in seven games at home. For whatever reason, the Bulls have really struggled to score points at home this season, averaging just 78.3 points in their last six losses but their scoring should see a slight uptick with the return of Deng to the starting lineup. Chicago is now 12-18 overall and 7-7 at home.
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Meanwhile, the Celtics have lost four of their last five overall and are coming off a heartbreaking 92-91 loss against the Hawks. With the Celtics getting next to no production from their starters, coach Stevens turned to his reserves who combined for 56 points, led by 21 points from Kelly Olynyk and 18 from Kris Humphries. Defensively, the C's did a nice job of limiting the Hawks to just 36 percent shooting from the field, but there was just no stopping Paul Millsap who exploded for 34 points on 12 of 19 shooting. With the loss, Boston drop to 13-18 on the season and 8-9 at home.
In ATS trends, the Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a loss and 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games overall, while the Bulls are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games overall and 7-17 ATS in their last 24 games against teams with losing records.
Head to head, the Celtics are 1-4-1 ATS in the last six meetings overall and 1-5-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in Chicago.
I really don't know what to make of this matchup because the Bulls are the clear favorites in my mind, but there's no ignoring their terrible form at home in the last couple of weeks. However, Chicago has beaten the Celtics in seven of the last 10 meetings so with the added bonus of Deng returning for the Bulls, I'm taking the home team to win and cover here.