NBA playoff betting action is going kick off on Saturday afternoon when the Chicago Bulls take on the Philadelphia 76ers in the first game in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the Windy City.
The 76ers know that they are going to have to win this series with their defense, as they really don’t have the capability offensively to stick around with any team, let alone this Chicago team in the playoffs. The Sixers are only averaging 93.6 points per game, and their leading scorer, Lou Williams, comes off of the bench. One would think that Andre Iguodala, with all of his veteran leadership, that he would be able to score and score in bunches, and perhaps he will. However, he is only averaging 12.4 points per game, fourth on the team. It has been a great year for Jrue Holiday as well at 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.3 boards per game, not to mention the 1.6 steals per game that he contributes on the defensive end of the floor. The good news for the 76ers is that they did have a win in this series, but that was back in February and it was in the City of Brotherly Love. In the only game played here in the United Center, the Sixers were crushed 89-80 in a game in which several of the brass for the Bulls ended up not playing.
The Bulls are clearly the dominating team in this series, and anything less than a sweep really would be a disappointment. Chicago ranked No. 1 in the league in total defense at 88.2 points per game, and the squad also ranked in the Top 3 in the league in every single defensive category. The Bulls are made by their bigs, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson. These guys are the ones that really clean up on the glass, and Chicago ranks No. 1 in the league in rebounding advantage at +6.7 boards per game. But of course, the interesting man in this series is Derrick Rose, who played in just 39 games in the regular season. Rose, last year’s MVP, did average 21.8 points and 7.9 assists per game when he was on the court, and he is going to be the man under the microscope. Unfortunately for the 76ers, this really is a tune up for the Memphis product for the rest of the playoffs when the games are inevitably going to be tougher than this one.
The Final Word: The Bulls are clearly the pick in Game 1, even laying all of these points. We just don’t know if the 76ers are going to be able to hang in this one, and especially for the start of the series, Chicago isn’t going to want to give in. Expect this one to be a romp early and get out of hand.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Chicago Bulls Pick: Chicago Bulls -8.5
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.