Image licensed from USA Today Sports
NBA Madness continues Friday night as the Chicago Bulls (18-21) from the Eastern Conference head west for a battle with the Denver Nuggets (24-16) from the Western Conference. Chicago is currently 9th in the Eastern Conference only 1.5 games from the 8th playoff spot. Denver is hovering in the 5th spot in the Western Conference standings at the moment.
These two organizations meet for the second time this season. The Nuggets won 118-112 in the last matchup on March 1st in Chicago. Nikola Jokic led Denver with 39 points while Zach LeVine led Chicago with 23 points. Last time out for Chicago they lost a tough one against San Antonio on Wednesday 106-99. Denver also played last on Wednesday night when they completely handled Charlotte 129-104.
The Denver Nuggets are a (-7) point home favorite with the total for this game sitting right around 228 points. Chicago is 20-16-0 against the spread this season, and Denver is 17-21-0 against the spread. Denver was favored by -4.5 points in Chicago last time with the total at 225 points, so the favorite covered last time with the total going over.
Bulls Drop Heartbreaker 106-99 To Spurs
The Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night suffered a very disappointing home loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls led by as many as 13 points at the start of the fourth quarter, but ended up being outscored 39-19 in the 4th to lose 106-99. After beating Toronto and Oklahoma City in prior games this loss was very frustrating after such a dominating performance in the first three quarters.
Zach LaVine told reporters after the game on Wednesday, “You’re (ticked) off. I don’t know how anybody else feels. I know how I feel. It’s upsetting. You feel the momentum shift in the game, and sometimes, you can’t do a lot about it. I think I’ve got to take better responsibility, myself, as a leader of the team to try to get guys together.”
ZACH LAVINE TAKING FLIGHT! pic.twitter.com/sP1d84lMzt
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 17, 2021
The Bulls will need to shake off the loss quickly from Wednesday, as Friday night the Nuggets look to make it two in a row against Chicago. LaVine has been an absolute superstar for Chicago this season. He is averaging 28.4 points per game with 5.2 rebounds to go with 5.1 assists per game. Last time against Denver LaVine scored 23 points but was only 1-8 from 3-point range. Chicago will need more out-of-point guard Coby White tonight if they plan to upset the Nuggets. White averages 15.5 points per game and had 20 the last time these teams met. Thaddeus Young will need to contribute in a big way as well, and he averages 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
Nuggets Beat Hornets 129-104 on Wednesday
After making the Western Conference finals last year the hopes are rather high for this Denver Nuggets basketball team to excel even further this season. But before the All-Star break sitting only two games above .500, the Nuggets were ready to start a four-game road trip. Depending on how the season finishes, that road trip could very well have been the turning point for Denver. The Nuggets swept all four games, came out of the break and won again on the road, and have won seven out of their last eight games.
Denver last played on St. Patrick’s Day (Wednesday) and saw Nikola Jokic record a triple-double going for 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. This was the Joker’s 10th triple-double of the season and 51 in total for his career. Jokic also had his 228th double-double to move past Dikembe Mutumbo for the franchise record. Michael Porter Jr. also contributed 28 points against the Hornets while Will Barton put up 23 points of his own.
A record six players logged a triple-double Wednesday:
James Harden: 40p, 20r, 15a
Ben Simmons: 13p, 10r, 12a
Domantas Sabonis: 18p, 11r, 11a
Draymond Green: 16p, 12r, 10a
Russell Westbrook: 26p, 14r, 10a
Nikola Jokic: 12p, 10r, 10a
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) March 18, 2021
Jamal Murray had 19 points on Wednesday which nearly matched his season average of 20.7 points per game. The former Kentucky Wildcat is also averaging 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. Porter Jr. is third on the Nuggets for scoring with 15.7 points per game and Barton is averaging 12.7 points per game. Last time against the Bulls Porter Jr. had 17 points and Barton was good for 14 points.
- Nuggets are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Bulls are 2-14 ATS in their last 16 Friday games.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Over the last ten games, the comparisons between the two teams are not even close as Chicago is 5-5 over their last 10 while Denver is 8-2. The Nuggets have been shooting 49.8% from the floor over that stretch scoring an average of 116.2 points per game while only giving up 105.4 points per game to their opponents. The Bulls have averaged 112.5 points per game over their last 10 games shooting 48.3% from the floor while allowing their opponents to score an average of 110.5 points per tilt. Nikola Jokic was a flat-out monster in the last game against the Bulls with 39 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists. Denver is too hot at the moment to fade against Chicago although the seven points the Bulls are getting is slightly attractive. According to dunksandthrees.com Denver scores 5.9 more points than Chicago every 100 possessions. The Nuggets have beaten their opponents by an average of 10.8 points per game over their last 10 games. I’ll ride the hot hand in Denver as Chicago continues to struggle against the upper-tier teams in the league.
Denver Nuggets -7
Want another opinion on this pick?
Full-Game Total Pick
We saw 230 points scored in Chicago the last time these two teams met on March 1st. At 228 points this line is going to be really close. LaVine is going to need 30-40 points this game if they want to keep up with the Nuggets as he only had 23 in the first game. The Nuggets are averaging 116.2 points over their last 10 games which is only a smidgen higher than their season average of 115.7 points per game. The Bulls are averaging slightly less points (112.5) over their last 10 games in-comparison to their season average of 114. A score of 120-110 will get the tickets paid at the window, and I’m absolutely going to play the over. With Jokic, Murray, Barton, and Porter Jr the Nuggets will score enough points to do their part and I have LaVine putting up 30-35 points in this game in an attempt to carry the Bulls. Take the over in this contest and you will not be disappointed.