The middle game in a three pack of NBA betting battles on ESPN on Saturday night features the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls.
The Mavericks only have two games left in their season, and they pretty much know that they are going to be in the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. The team could drop to No. 7, but a win would ensure avoiding both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. There’s a big difference between facing those two teams or the Los Angeles Lakers/Los Angeles Clippers winner in the Pacific Division. Unfortunately for the Mavs, they are going to have to play their next four games on the road, including the final two here in the regular season and the first two in the playoffs in some respect. The team is just 13-18 on the road this season. The key is going to be the defense for this team. Dallas doesn’t rank better than No. 18 in the league in any offensive category of note, and if this team doesn’t end up playing the best defense in the world, it is going to get beaten, especially by a team that has so many bigs and so much to pay for.
The Bulls haven’t quite wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference yet, but two wins in the last three in the regular season will ensure home court advantage in the conference. Those two wins would also likely wrap up home court advantage for the whole playoffs as well, though there is nothing guaranteed with the San Antonio Spurs sporting the same amount of losses and the Oklahoma City Thunder just one game in the loss column behind. Derrick Rose has been in and out of the lineup over the course of the season, and now he is dealing with a foot injury that is going to keep him out of this one in all likelihood. The Bulls are going to be seething after losing to the Miami Heat in such bad fashion in South Beach a few nights ago, and they are going to want to get back in the win column in this one. No one really played well offensively in that one, and matters need to be improved to beat the Mavs, another team that has the ability to put the clamps on even the best teams in the land.
The Final Word: We really think that the Bulls are going to pull it together and pull this one off. The game just means a heck of a lot more to the hosts in this one, and even though the Mavericks are still fighting for playoff seeding. Chicago needs to get its offense together though, and we will know pretty early if the guards are going to get the job done on Saturday night.
Dallas Mavericks @ Chicago Bulls Pick: Chicago Bulls
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.