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Bulls vs. Nets Odds, Preview, Prediction: Short-handed Chicago Still Dangerous (November 1)

Bulls vs. Nets Odds, Preview, Prediction: Short-handed Chicago Still Dangerous (November 1) article feature image
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Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Chicago Bulls small forward DeMar DeRozan

Bulls vs. Nets Odds

Bulls Odds +1.5
Nets Odds -1.5
Over/Under 232 (-110 / -110)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nets play their second game in as many days and host the Bulls on Tuesday after taking care of business against the Pacers on Monday night.

Can Brooklyn get out of the rut it’s dug for itself to start the season, or will the Bulls pull their record to .500?

Let’s break it down.

With Bulls Depleted, DeRozan’s Time to Shine 

The Bulls have a fairly significant injury report for this early in the season, but with this being the first game of a road-and-home back-to-back set, it makes some sense. Zach LaVine (injury management), Ayo Dosunmu (neck, back), and Coby White (quad) are all Questionable while Andre Drummond (shoulder) is out and Lonzo Ball (knee) continues to recover.

If all of these players miss time, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic should see their usage rates skyrocket while Alex Caruso and Goron Dragic would likely slot into the starting lineup.

So far this season, the Bulls are 3-4 with the 14th-best Adjusted Net Rating of +0.1, per DunksandThrees. Their offense has struggled, but their defense ranks 11th at 111.0. However, there should be some positive regression coming for the offense. The Bulls have an eFG% of just 51.8% compared to an expected eFG% of 54.1%, per Cleaning the Glass.

In particular, the Bulls have struggled immensely at the rim and short mid-range shots, with the worst and second-worst shooting percentages from those locations, respectively. This should be a get-right spot against a Brooklyn team that has been able to defend the short-midrange well but is bottom 10 in the league defending the rim.

Both DeRozan and LaVine played well against the Nets last season, but with LaVine listed as Questionable, DeRozan and Vucevic could play better in tonight’s game. Last season, DeRozan notched 25.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists vs. Brooklyn while Vuvevic totaled just 12.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. DeRozan’s points prop is absolutely a target tonight considering he has averaged 33.9 points per game without him compared to 26.1 points per game with him over the last two seasons.


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Early Season Exposes Nets’ Flaws

The Brooklyn Nets held Benjamin Simmons (knee) out yesterday against the Pacers, but he is expected to play tonight. Seth Curry was also held out against the Pacers due to injury management. I’d expect him to play tonight while Joe Harris, who started and played nearly 30 minutes on Monday, sits on this back-to-back.

Brooklyn has been objectively bad this season, with the team’s only wins coming against the Pacers and their Raptors. They have an Adjusted Net Rating of -6.1 with a middling offense and the second-worst Adjust Defensive Rating in the league of 119.0.

The Nets look disjointed, and even though their offense has been able to put up points due to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, their defense cannot stop anyone. It is jarring to see Durant with a -15.3 point differential at this point in the season, and while I expect that to even out as time goes on, it demonstrates the flaws in this team that lost some key rotational pieces this offseason, namely Bruce Brown, LaMarcus Aldridge and even Goran Dragic. This team’s depth is questionable.

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Bulls-Nets Pick

The Bulls may be missing a few of their starters for this contest, but they still have elite offensive options that should take advantage of this porous Nets’ defense.

This line opened at Bulls +2.5 and has received sharp action and has been bet down to +1.5 at some books at the time of this writing. I would not be surprised to see this game close as a pick’em by the opening tip, and I would bet it as such. I’m finding value with the Bulls and expect them to score at will and win outright tonight in Brooklyn.

Pick: Bulls +2.5 and ML

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