Thursday February 12th, 2015

The Cleveland Cavaliers will be looking to head into the NBA All-Star Break as leaders of the Central Division when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday in a game that sat as a pick'em overnight at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Cavaliers have won 14 of their last 15 games – going 12-3 against the spread during that stretch – following a 113-93 victory against the Miami Heat on Wednesday as 12-point home favorites.

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​Cleveland has fared well in the second game of back-to-back situations recently, winning and covering three of their past four after starting the season with a 5-5 record straight-up and 4-6 mark ATS. The Cavs had suffered through a season-high six-game losing streak and also dropped nine of 10 before heating up over the last month.

Chicago has gone through some struggles lately as well, but the team seems to have turned the corner a bit with a current three-game winning streak. The Bulls lost 10 of 15 games and went 6-9 ATS prior to the winning streak, although they have still managed to hold onto the lead in the Central Division despite Cleveland’s hot play.

Of course that could change with a third consecutive loss to the Cavs, something Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau will try to avoid. Thibodeau has seen his players get outscored by a combined 20 points in failing to cover the spread in each of the two losses against Cleveland this season. The Bulls had won 13 of the previous 15 meetings, covering 10 of them according to the OddsShark NBA Database, when LeBron James was still a member of the Heat.

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​James has tortured Chicago over the years, averaging 28.5 points in 42 regular-season meetings. He scored a game-high 36 points in a 114-108 victory when Cleveland was a 4-point road underdog last Oct. 31 and 26 in a 108-94 rout as a 4.5-point home favorite on Jan. 19 during the team’s recent 12-game winning streak.

The Bulls are hoping to have leading scorer and first-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler available on Thursday after he strained his shoulder in the first half of their 104-86 win over the Sacramento Kings as 11-point home favorites on the NBA betting lines on Tuesday. Butler did not play the second half against the Kings and is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game. Chicago did get small forward Mike Dunleavy back in the starting lineup versus Sacramento though, as he missed the previous 19 games with an ankle injury.

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