You can usually count on the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds to produce the most intriguing matchups of the first round, and this year’s Eastern Conference matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls is no exception.
This series gets underway on Saturday, with Brooklyn a 5-point home favorite in Game 1 and the total is set at 183.5 points. Chicago has won seven of the past nine meetings, giving Bulls bettors plenty of positive recent history to consider.
Fans in Brooklyn didn’t have to wait long to see their team in the postseason. The New Jersey Nets missed the playoffs in each of the last five seasons, including last year when they went just 22-44 and 9-24 at home.
However, with the relocation to Brooklyn, the addition of Joe Johnson, and another solid season from Deron Williams, the Nets went 49-33 straight up and 39-41-2 against the spread this season to earn the fourth seed in the East.
Brooklyn is 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS over its last seven games and is going off at 60/1 to win the NBA championship.
Despite being without their heart-and-soul leader in Derrick Rose all season long, the Chicago Bulls still made their way into the playoffs with a 45-37 SU record and 36-46 ATS record.
When Rose went down in the first round last season, Chicago fell apart and lost in six to Philadelphia. This year, they will be looking for some redemption, and head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive scheme gives them a shot at it.
The Bulls are also going off at 60/1 to win the NBA championship.
On paper, this one looks way too close to call. Chicago owns the better defense, but with Rose out Brooklyn has the biggest game-breaker on the floor in Williams, who has been rounding into playoff form in April.
Brook Lopez vs. Joakim Noah will make for an interesting battle of big men as well. The Bulls are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the Nets.
Prediction: Nets in 7