The Chicago Bulls might be in desperate need of a victory Thursday night as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers, but if the talent differential is substantial enough, the urgency of a given situation is not enough to make a sportsbook tilt the betting odds in favor of an underdog. If you value your NBA betting sanity, you won’t want to out-think yourself.
Cleveland @ Chicago
Thursday, April 8
Bookmaker Odds: No line (as of yet)
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a complete novice at sports betting, you need to do some basic homework when researching a given matchup. The Chicago Bulls might need to win a lot more than the Cavs do in this nationally-televised tilt (on TNT), but that reality can only do so much for coach Vinny Del Negro’s team when it steps on its home court at the United Center. The Bulls are a banged-up team. They’re getting healthier, but they’re still in poor shape. Center Joakim Noah is playing with a foot injury. Guard Kirk Hinrich sprained his ankle in a March 30 loss to Phoenix. Luol Deng is recovering from a calf strain and has said that his body is still very sore. Superstar guard Derrick Rose is in the lineup and playing reasonably extended minutes, but he’s missed chunks of the season with injuries and has been a magnet for physical punishment all season long. This is just not a team that’s blessed with a fresh tank of energy for a grueling NBA home stretch. Chicago got two days off on Sunday and Monday of this week, but the Bulls – after dealing with Milwaukee on Tuesday – get only one day off before this game.
The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t figure to be very merciful.
LeBron James and his teammates are steaming mad after losing at Boston on Sunday afternoon, and coach Mike Brown wants his team to be sharp heading into the playoffs. The Cavs have not been ravaged by injuries the way the Bulls have, so it’s hard to expect the team with the NBA’s best record to leave Chicago with a loss. One thing that could have helped the Bulls in this game was the schedule; perhaps Cleveland could have entered this game playing the second half of a back-to-back set. However, that’s not the case. The Cavs took on Toronto on Tuesday and then got a break on Wednesday. If the Bulls had added rest, the scales could have evened out for this Eastern Conference clash, but with equal amounts of recuperation time, Cleveland has to be considered the favorite.
Just as the Masters odds aren’t going to favor an obscure golfer, so it also stands that basketball bettors shouldn’t be thinking about an upset on Thursday night. LeBron should be able to get to the rim at will, and the Cavs should be able to get a high-quality look at the basket on most of their possessions as a result. Chicago’s injuries have certainly hurt, but the loss of John Salmons to Milwaukee has also detracted from the ballclub that extended the Boston Celtics to seven games in last year’s epic NBA Playoff series.
Online basketball betting pick: Cleveland