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May 4, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Sports Profit System owns a 72-52 record in NBA this season.
 

Take Chicago Bulls at +5 spread (buy half a point) against Cleveland Cavaliers risking 3%.

The Chicago Bulls may have had a tough time closing their series with the Milwaukee Bucks, however they made a quite the statement in their last outing as they absolutely destroyed Milwaukee on the road 120-66. In that game, it was a full team effort as every starter reach double figures in scoring with Mike Dunleavy leading the way with 20 points on 5-7 shooting. Derrick Rose continued to get more comfortable on the court and put in a solid performance with 15 points and 7 assists. That was arguably Chicago's best performance of the season and proves that when this team is fully engaged on both the offensive the defensive end, that they can beat anyone in the Eastern Conference including tonight's opponents. 

The perception may be that Chicago struggled in their opening series with the Bucks, but we believe that the struggles they faced will better prepare them for this upcoming series with the Cavaliers. That series allowed Derrick Rose to become much more comfortable on the court and gain the much needed actual in game playing time to allow him to gain his confidence back. We expect rose to be at his best for this upcoming series. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers made somewhat easy work of their first round opponents, the Boston Celtics. For much of the series the Cavaliers were playing with huge leads and the Celtics did very little to threaten them. That likely puts the Cavs at a huge disadvantage. The Bulls are one of the more physically dominant teams in the league. Their style of play is meant to grind on teams and wear them down. We have seen how James reacts to playing the Bulls in the past, this is a team that forces LeBron out of his comfort zone and has done so successfully in the past. The Bulls pose a much different challenge to the Cavalier than Boston did and for once, we believe it will be Cleveland who will be a disadvantage in this contest. 

Not only is Kevin Love sidelined for the duration of the postseason after undergoing surgery on a dislocated left shoulder and torn labrum, but starting SG, J.R. Smith has been suspended for Games 1 and 2 in this series as well after striking Boston Celtics guard Jae Crowder in the face with an elbow in the Cavaliers' Game 4 victory. These two losses cannot be understated. Both players add an entirely different dimension to this Cleveland offense and their absence tonight will no doubt hurt the Cavs in this series. Usually it has been Chicago who has been the team dealing with injuries and for once; the Bulls are they healthier and much deeper team as a result. If their full complement of contributors play anything like they did in Game 6 again Milwaukee, the Cavaliers could find themselves at quite the disadvantage trying to keep pace on the boards with a bigger, more physical Chicago team that led all squads in rebounding throughout the first round, averaging nearly 50 per game.  

Even though there has been controversy surrounding Kevin Love and his role on this team, he is a player that forces defenses to stretch the floor with his ability to score from the perimeter or at the basket making him a legitimate threat from anywhere on the court. Due to his versatility, teams are forced to have a body on him at all times. His absence should allow Tom Thibodeau more of an opportunity to concentrate on slowing down both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving without have to worry about accounting for Love as well. As we have seen many times this season, when opposing coaches place too much focus on one of those three players, it has often been the other two who have done the most damage. Without having to contend with the threat of Love and his scoring and rebounding ability, that is no doubt an advantage for Chicago. 

J.R Smith on the other hand is a player who has proven to be absolutely devastating to teams from long range. The ability for James and Irving to drive into the lane, collapse the defense and kick the ball out to the wing to Smith has been a play that the Cavs have used multiple times already this playoff series. Without Smith and Love on the floor, it will allow Chicago to pack the paint with big bodies like Noah, Gibson and Gasol since the threat of the 3 ball is less of an issue. A big reason why the Cavaliers had such a dominant series over the Celtics was because of their ability to shoot the three. That allowed them to create separation from their opponents, a luxury they likely won't have tonight. While James and Irving are no doubt capable of shitting the 3; James struggled in their series with the Celtics, hitting only 20% from long range. 

This will be the Cavaliers first game since April 26th! They have had 8 full days of rest, which is often times too much for a team to sit waiting on the sidelines. With that much time off rust becomes a very significant concern, so much so that Cavalier coach David Blatt even went into the media to address his concerns for his teams not responding well in the early moments of the contest. Chicago meanwhile has played two additional games since the Cavaliers closed their series and will likely be in much more prepared "game shape" for this contest. Whether the Bulls manage to pull the outright upset or not remains to be seen, however we do expect this to be a closely contested, back and forth battle from start to finish with the winner likely being the team who makes the critical baskets needed in the final few minutes. If that is indeed the case, we feel that the points will come into play. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Bulls are 12-4 ATS in the last 16 meetings overall.
  • Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games. 
  • Cavs are 1-4 ATS in their last five Conference Quarterfinals games.
  • Bulls are 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings in Cleveland! 



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