Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls – United Center at 01:00 live on BT Sport 1

I’m back for my second NBA Handicap Betting preview for the week. I’m hoping to find some value on the market for this encounter after being unsuccessful for my previous preview.

Momentum in Massachusetts

The Boston Celtics will be looking to improve on last season’s record. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Atalanta Hawks, with guard Avery Bradley sustaining a hamstring injury in game 1. He sat out the rest of the first round as the Celtics season ended prematurely. Although Boston didn’t make the post-season in the 2013-14 season, they have been in the post-season for two consecutive years. This has been in part due to head coach Brad Stevens. The overhaul was put into place when the big three left. General manager Danny Ainge implemented a rebuilding process and appointed Stevens as head coach. The former Butler University head coach received a contract extension in June.

Fast forward a couple of years and it seems like Boston’s patience and development in youth has paid off. The team is led by Isiah Thomas who at 5″9 is irregular size for professional basketball. Thomas appeared in his first all-star game last season and will be ready to improve this great franchise’s fortunes. The acquisition of big man Al Horford shows that they are trending in the right direction

Enter Butler

It’s been a busy summer in the windy city. 2011 MVP Derrick Rose has moved to New York. Other notable departures are Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah. Acquisitions for the Bulls include Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Taj Gibson to name a few. Chicago do seem to have that X-Factor with the arrivals of Rondo and Wade, especially the latter. Wade and captain Jimmy Butler are two legitimate stars in the NBA. Both players have solid two-way acumen as they will excel on both ends of the court. I will be interested to see how the aforementioned trio perform as a unit. Both Wade and Rondo are ball-perimeter players and that could limit spacing and therefore act as a detriment to Butler’s game. Butler has come from being an unknown entity to one of the most recognisable players in the game. He has stepped out of Rose’s shadow and is now the face of the franchise. The big issue for Chicago is defense. How will head coach Fred Hoiberg get to grips with this underlying issue, especially with the departures of Noah and Gasol.

Stat Attack

The Celtics have already kicked of their campaign, they defeated the Nets 122-117. Isiah Thomas led the team in points (25) and minutes (32:49). He also led the team in PPG last year (22.2). Defensively, Jared Sullinger led the teams in DRB per game (5.9). For the Bulls, Jimmy Butler led the team in scoring (20.9), steals (1.6), assists (4.8) and minutes per game (36.9) in the last campaign. Will those numbers decrease with the arrivals of Wade and Rondo?

Asian Handicap Recommendation: Boston -1 at 1.96

By @The_Drewse

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