April 18, 2017
There is one pick tonight.
Take Boston Celtics -7 spread against Chicago Bulls for 3% of the bankroll.
The Chicago Bulls managed to steal Game 1 from the Boston Celtics which really was surprising given the news of the passing of starting point guard, Isaiah Thomas' sister the night prior. The entire team were likely playing with heavy hearts in that contest and it showed as the Bulls were the much more physical team, despite not having their best shooting night from the field. The Bulls completely dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Celtics 65-44, including grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. It was those second chance points and the Bulls proficiency from the free-throw line that ultimately led to the Celtics demise in Game 1.
Having now experienced a loss in Game 1 and in giving up home court advantage, the Celtics now likely find themselves in a must win situation as they need to come away with a victory tonight to avoid going on the road down 0-2 in the series. We expect that the Celtics will come into this contest much more motivated than they were two days ago and will be out for redemption. The Celtics have not dropped back to back home games in the Garden since 2015 and we don't believe that changes tonight.
The Celtics were dominated on the boards, but it's important to remember that despite those lopsided statistics, they did hold a narrow lead midway through the 4th quarter and could have arguably pulled off the victory had their offense not run out of steam. Coach Brad Stevens is one of the best young coaches in the league and will undoubtedly have a game plan to better attack on the glass tonight. Amir Johnson only played 18 minutes in Game 1 and Kelly Olynyk played just 28. We wouldn't be surprised to see Stevens go with a much larger lineup tonight in an effort to battle the Bulls on the glass. It's also important to mention that Bobby Portis, who hasn't had a particularly strong season, was a force off the bench for Chicago, scoring 19 points and pulling down nine rebounds. An effort like that has been rare for Portis this season and we don't expect him to have a repeat performance tonight.
The Chicago Bulls are not a prototypical 8-seed and while we do expect this to be a closely contested series, possibly being decided in seven games, we don't believe the Celtics have the motivational edge in this contest. They will be playing for their lives in this contest and that should allow them to even up the series with a big statement win and cover tonight.
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