Dec 18 NBA Play: New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls
The simulation programs in our stable anticipate a Bulls victory by 9-10 points. This work assumes Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson play for Chicago (both are currently listed as questionable), but that the Knicks do not have the benefit of Carmelo Anthony's and Amar'e Soudemire's talents (also listed as questionable). The spread is currently Knicks +13 at most shops. We recommend buying the line up to +14 to provide the roughly five point cushion that we generally seek between the result we forecast and the betting line.
We are not convinced that Carmelo will be ruled out of this evenings contest (Stoudemire, on the other hand, definitively will not play). Melo indicated in shootaround today that it has been suggested that he sit out for an extended period in the interest of his longer-term health. His comments though also suggested that he was at least somewhat reticent about heeding this counsel, asserting essentially that in its dire current state, his team needs his production. The ultimate decision will likely come closer to game time.
Per the computers, if Carmelo can not manage this evening, NY still has a 67% chance of covering the bloated spread. However, if Melo is a gamer, this probability increases. Also, if Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau sits Rose (and/or Gibson) tonight, New York's chances improve. And, of course, if Melo plays but Rose does not, the likelihood of cashing in a ticket on the Knicks increases by the largest margin.
In summary, the computers indicate a high probability of a depleted Knicks squad covering against a Bulls team at full force (personnel-wise). If any of three game-time decisions turn out to be favorable for New York, their chances of the win ATS improve. As such, we like the risk/reward profile of this game.