NBA Betting – Cavs, Bulls Open Season in Chi-Town
Zack GarrisonNo comments
Perhaps no NBA team has been more anxious to get back on the court than the Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29, 21-19 away). Last year’s runners-up, who were decimated by injuries in the NBA Finals against Golden State, are the favorites to emerge from the Eastern Conference once again. LeBron James and the Cavs will start the long march back to the finals tonight (8:00 PM Eastern) against the Chicago Bulls (50-32, 27-14 home), the team that figures to be their biggest competition to come out of the East.
The Cavs are seemingly picking up right where they left off last year with injuries rearing their ugly head. James has been resting for most of the preseason due to a back problem. He trained the past two days and is ready to go for tonight’s game, but team doctors don’t want him to see too many minutes.
Meanwhile, point guard Kyrie Irving is recovering from surgery on a broken kneecap and is still weeks away from getting back on the floor.
“We’re not going to put too much on the first game of the season,” James told the Associated Press. “We’ve put in a lot of work over the last few weeks, and you can only try to get healthy, work your habits, work your rhythm and our last few practices have been very good. But you don’t put too much onus on if this will be the team that we’ll be long-term tomorrow.”
Last season, Cleveland had to soldier through most of the playoffs without Irving and power forward Kevin Love. The front office made sure the team stayed together, though, signing free agent Love to a five-year, $110 million extension. After a protracted contract dispute, they also inked Tristan Thompson – who emerged as a star in Love’s absence – to a five-year, $82 million deal,
After a disappointing 2014-15 campaign that saw the team finish third in the Central Division and get bounced by the Cavs in the conference semifinals, the Bulls let go of coach Tom Thibodeau, bringing in Fred Hoiberg from Iowa State University.
This will be Hoiberg’s first go-round in the NBA, but he brings an air of confidence despite his inexperience at the pro level.
“I put a ton of pressure on myself,” the rookie head coach told the Chicago Tribune. “But there’s pressure on everybody who is in this position, whatever level you’re coaching. I remember some people told me to not take the Iowa State job because I could only tarnish my reputation in that community. I wouldn’t have taken it if I felt we couldn’t have some success. I feel the same about this job. I wouldn’t have left Iowa State if I didn’t feel we could consistently compete for championships.”
Luckily for Hoiberg and the Bulls, point guard Derrick Rose will be ready for the season opener after suffering a fractured left orbital bone on the first day of training camp. Rose admitted his vision isn’t perfect, but said he will be ready come game time.
“[I]f I concentrate a little bit harder or focus on it a little bit harder, I can see one thing,” Rose said after Monday’s practice.
With James’ status a little opaque, it might be wise to avoid the spread in this one. But, given that the O/U has stayed under in eight of the Cavs’ last 11 road games, and four of the Bulls’ last five at home, rolling with the under (197) again tonight looks like decent value. (If James is, indeed, limited, that will only help keep the Cavs’ point total down.)
Pick: UNDER 197.