The NBA odds for Wednesday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls depend on whether James Harden and Kyrie Irving play.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at United Center
For one brief, tantalizing moment, the Brooklyn Nets had their entire Big Three on the court. Their decision to have Kyrie Irving play road games (where allowed) may be controversial, but you can’t argue with success: The Nets beat the Indiana Pacers 129-121 in Irving’s season debut, with their prodigal point guard scoring 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Except they didn’t cash in.
Brooklyn were laying 8.5 points on the NBA odds board, so they lost their fourth straight game ATS. They’d lose their next three as well, with Irving only available for a single road game – which James Harden had to sit out. Both Irving (ankle) and Harden (knee) are listed as questionable for Wednesday’s visit to the United Center to play the Chicago Bulls; NBA lines are pending as we go to press, but if Irving plays, another ATS loss might be in the cards.
However talented Irving may be, he can’t be expected to put up the same numbers he did in his previous 10 years as a professional baller. He was away from the team for several months, and he’s only played twice thus far, hardly enough time to develop any rhythm with his teammates. Now Irving has a sore ankle, too. And we haven’t even mentioned his recent bout with the coronavirus.
Harden is also not performing as well as years past, but that’s in large part because the league has changed its interpretation of the rules, preventing Harden (at least to some degree) from launching himself into opponents to draw shooting fouls. The betting market has had some time to adjust; not so with Irving, whose name still carries a lot of cachet.
The ideal situation for us, from a betting perspective, would be if Irving plays and Harden sits. That’s what happened on Monday when the Nets (25-13 SU, 15-23 ATS) lost 114-108 to the Portland Trail Blazers (+8.5 at home), a team that’s going through even worse drama than Brooklyn. Again, Irving scored 22 points for the Nets, but it was on 9-of-21 shooting this time. Not good.
Alas, it does appear that Harden will play – Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters on Monday that he should be in uniform. But the Bulls (26-11 SU, 22-15 ATS) still look like the right NBA pick in this situation. They’ve outperformed Brooklyn this year, taking over the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a healthy combination of a top-flight offense and a league-average defense.
That defense could get a boost Wednesday night if Alex Caruso is ready to re-join the lineup. He’s been out with a sprained left foot, and is currently in league protocol, but is eligible to return any moment now. It may have already happened by the time you read this. Bet accordingly.
NBA Pick: Bulls (-125) with Bet365