The Atlanta Hawks (19-12) and Chicago Bulls (25-8) will meet up in an Eastern Conference showdown Monday night inside the United Center
Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls
Atlanta continues a five-game road trip and will look to bounce back from a 97-77 blowout loss to the Portland Trail Blazers as 5.5-point underdogs on Saturday night. “Tonight’s was just one of those nights where the energy level just wasn’t up where it needed to be,” commented Hawks guard Joe Johnson. The Hawks’ offense has struggled over the course of this month, averaging just 87.0 points per game in nine games. Atlanta is 8-8 ATS on the road and the “under” is 11-6 in that situation.
The Hawks have split their first two meetings with the Bulls during the 2011-12 campaign, with the home team capturing the win in each contest. Atlanta suffered a 76-74 defeat as 9.5-point road underdogs in its first trip to the United Center on Jan. 3. The team is 10-7 overall away from home this season, including an 8-3 mark versus Eastern Conference opponents. Johnson leads the team in averaging 17.7 points per game and the squad is 12-1 this season when he scores 20-or-more points in a game.
Chicago has two games to play before the NBA All-Star break and it’s uncertain if point guard Derrick Rose will play in either contest due to back spasms. Last year’s MVP has missed the last five games and the franchise is 7-3 without his services overall during the shortened season. The Bulls have a great chance of bouncing back due to not suffering back-to-back defeats through the first 33 games of the season. Chicago is 6-7 ATS at home and the “under” is 8-5 in those games.
The Bulls are 11-2 at home this season, including an 8-2 mark versus Eastern Conference opponents. Chicago has won 17 of the last 29 meetings with Atlanta, including 10 of the last 14 inside tonight’s venue. With a current record of 25-8, the team is on pace to finish with a 50-16 record, which would ultimately translate into a 62-20 mark if the lockout didn’t shorten the normal 82-game regular season. Chicago has not lost consecutive games in the regular season since Feb. 5-7, 2011, a span of 65 games.
Bettors will likely back the Bulls due to their 31-13-1 ATS mark following a loss, while the Hawks are 2-5 ATS versus winning home teams.
Recommendation: Chicago Bulls
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