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Bulls-Nuggets Pick

Chicago (+6.5) vs. Denver (-6.5); Total set at 196.5

The Bulls and Nuggets cap off tonight’s NBA on TNT double-header as these two meet for the first time this year.

It is the fifth game of a six-game road trip for the injury-plagued Bulls who are 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS so far on the trip. Chicago should have Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah back in the lineup tonight and that give them a big boost on both ends of the floor. Denver is a team that loves to play fast and score in the paint and those two big bodies for Chicago will help limit that damage and pull down multiple rebounds all evening. 
But they still won’t be 100% and as we saw in their last game vs. Indiana without Noah, Chicago has no problem adapting to that faster pace.

The Bulls and Pacers, two of the best defensive teams in the league put up 212 points in that game as seven Chicago players scored in double digits with G Marco Belinelli leading the way with 24. He and the rest of the Bulls should see plenty of open shots as Denver have been known to give up points (100.7 allowed/game). A fast-paced, scoring bonanza is the type of game Denver prefers and Chicago may have no choice but to go along with it. Their balanced scoring vs. Indiana gives them more confidence in that scenario though as they won’t be scared to run with the Nuggets.

Denver has won seven in a row coming into tonight, including the past five on this current homestand. They end this stretch at home with tonight’s game and will look to top the century mark for the ninth consecutive time. The Nuggets have scored 112 or more in four of the five games on this homestand and the only time they didn’t they put up 102 on the Pacers. That was the only game they failed to cover the spread as well and since Chicago and Indiana are very similar, staying away from the side may be the best option.

But that’s not the case with the total as these two should buck the usual TNT Thursday night “under” trend that has been prevalent for years. Denver is 9-1 O/U in their last 10 overall and are 6-0 O/U when playing a team that allowed 100 or more last time out. Noah’s return won’t phase the Nuggets at all as they have their own energetic rebounder (Faried) to battle him for boards all night and he alone will give Denver numerous second-chance opportunities.

Chicago is 6-2 O/U in their last eight away from home and haven’t minded running against Denver one bit in recent years. In the past 10 meetings between these two the “over” is 6-4 and every single total was at least two points higher than tonight (only one was below 200).

Take the over.

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