After winning the first three games of their NBA first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks to build a commanding 3-0 lead, the Chicago Bulls have disappointed as the heavy favorites to advance in losing the last two games, both straight-up and against the spread.
In fact, the Bulls have failed to cover the spread at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark in the past three games of the series and will likely close as the smallest favorites they've been against the Bucks since December 2013 when they visit Milwaukee Thursday for Game 6.
Chicago was a 3.5-point road favorite when it beat the Bucks 91-90 back on December 13, 2013. The last time the Bulls were underdogs against Milwaukee came on January 30 of that year, when they also prevailed in a 104-88 road victory.
While Chicago will not be a dog in Thursday's Bulls vs. Bucks betting matchup, the team has certainly not played like the favorite since covering Games 1 and 2.
The more experienced Bulls have turned over the ball 86 times in the series, compared to just 59 for Milwaukee, totaling more turnovers in four of the first five games. However, they had fewer turnovers than their opponent in Monday’s 94-88 Game 5 home loss to the Bucks, who had 17 to Chicago’s 12.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose had his worst performance of the series in that game with just 13 points, two assists and a game-high six turnovers. Rose and leading scorer Jimmy Butler missed 31 of 41 shots from the field.
Second-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams led Milwaukee with a team-high 22 points on 10 of 15 shooting to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds. Carter-Williams outplayed Rose for the first time in the series and took advantage of an early ankle injury to Jerryd Bayless, who totaled only 10 minutes after playing 25 and making the game-winning layup in Game 4 last Saturday.
The winning team has topped 95 points just twice in the last nine meetings, with the under cashing seven times for totals bettors dating back to the start of the 2014 season, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
Chicago needed double overtime to accomplish that feat in Game 3, outscoring Milwaukee 18-11 in the extra sessions to win 113-106 for one of two over results in the series.