The Chicago Bulls are coming off beating up on the Pistons, and now the Brooklyn Nets come to town with a rest advantage.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at United Center
Makeup Game Tough for Chicago
The Bulls and Nets were originally supposed to hook up late in 2021, but the coronavirus sat up like the Undertaker and has been wreaking havoc on the major sports, forcing the original date to be rescheduled.
Now it’s in a somewhat tough spot for the Bulls, who are coming off smacking up the Pistons on Tuesday. Chicago also has Golden State coming to town on Friday, so it’s a challenging dilemma, to say the least, with the rest advantage clearly on the side of Brooklyn.
However, while we haven’t seen the Bulls’ injury report yet, the Nets are the ones with more concerns tonight despite coming into Chicago with more rest.
Both James Harden and Kyrie Irving are listed as questionable with injuries and there’s a chance one or both of them sit this one out. Irving rolled his ankle at the end of their last game, while Harden has missed a game already with his injury.
If one or both of those Nets stars are forced to sit out, it will probably erase any rest advantage the Nets have. Chicago is 4-3 ATS this season when playing on no rest, but it’s the total that will probably have more value.
The Sharp Analysis
Even though the Bulls are 5-2 this season cashing the over when they play on the second night of a back-to-back, this could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals if both these teams stay healthy.
Both will want to exert their defensive prowess early on in the game and if we can count on both defenses to play well early, the first half under has some value tonight.
Not only could we see a competitive game, but if Harden or Irving are ruled out, that should send the total for this one coming back down. While we are going against the steam here with the total going up five full points since it opened, I feel good about the first half number.
If Chicago’s defense fails, it will likely be in the second half, but after their starters hardly or didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter last night, they should have some extra juice against this marquee opponent.
Combined with these two teams’ first-half defenses and the amped-up United Center, I could see some shots falling off the rim early.
The Sharp Pick
The Nets haven’t been great defensively on the road in first halves this season, but against conference opponents, they rank eighth-best in the NBA for first-half defense.
Combine that with their rest advantage and the team that defends the best tonight will win.
We could see a shootout, but as long as the Bulls control the pace and if we can get lucky with one or two Nets stars sitting out, I don’t see the first half getting past 115 or 116 combined points for our NBA pick.
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