UPDATE: Of course Derrick Rose got hurt in this game, leaving Kirk Hinrich to manage the offense in the fourth quarter and overtime. 0-1 on the NBA season for me!
Nights like tonight are why the NBA is far and away the best sports league on the planet. Routine meetings between elite teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls give every week a championship like atmosphere, even on some random Friday in October. Let's pick this potential Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
Every now and then, I'll pick an NBA game or two, because something will need to occupy this space when NFL season is over, unlike last year when it just kind of turned into my hot take repository.
Before we get too far into this, I must disclose that I am a huge bandwagon LeBron fan. As soon as the Knicks are eliminated from playoff contention (usually in mid-December), I start hoping that he wins the championship. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I hate Michael Jordan for always beating the Knicks when I was a kid, and I want someone to usurp him atop the NBA throne. He's also just fun to watch, which is also good. But I digress.
Cleveland and Chicago should both be in the race to win the NBA championship this year. But Chicago is definitely a more cohesive unit at this point in time than the Cavaliers are. At the early stages in the NBA season, metrics, while important, take a back seat to simple things, like which teams know how to play basketball with one another.
While the Cavaliers will have the best player in the entire world at their disposal for this game, it's unclear just how long it's going to take for LeBron James to mesh nicely with Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and the rest of his Cleveland teammates and coach David Blatt. This is normal, and it exposes a convenient way for smart bettors to win early in the NBA season.
We can see this in the line movement leading up to this contest. Chicago opened as a 2.5 point favorite, but have moved all the way to -4 despite only a 55/45 betting split in Chicago's favor.
Also a factor here is the fact that Cleveland is playing for a second straight night, and on the road to boot. Neither of those things are ever good for NBA teams, and they won't be good for the Cavs here. Chicago should get the job done here.
Pick: BULLS -4 over Cavaliers
2014-2015 NBA ATS: 0-0