Nuggets vs. Bulls Preview: Denver Has Value as a Short Road Favorite

NBABet analyst Chris Baker breaks down Sunday's NBA matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the Chicago Bulls and shares his best bet.

Nuggets vs. Bulls Odds

Nuggets Odds -1
Bulls Odds +1
Over/Under 231.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nuggets look to cap off their four-game road trip with a victory in Chicago on Sunday evening. Denver has played in a bunch of high-scoring games to begin the season, and Chicago certainly has the playmakers to erupt against this poor Denver defense. Could we see some fireworks in Chicago tonight? Let’s dive in.

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Nuggets Offense Has an Edge Inside

The Nuggets have been average to start the season as they rank 15th in Adjusted Net Rating through 12 games. I know it’s odd to call a team that is 8-4 average, but that is exactly how they have performed relative to the expectations most people had for them entering the season.

They have played a top-five easiest schedule of opponents but have had to grind their way to wins versus multiple “bad” teams like the Thunder and Pacers. However, this was to be expected early on with the insertion of so many new players into the lineup. I am not panicking on the Nuggets at all, and at the end of the day they are still well above .500 at 8-4.

This is a particularly favorable matchup for them as the Bulls have struggled to defend the rim this season. After finishing 30th in Rim Rate Allowed in 2021-2022, the Bulls defense is still just 24th in Rim Rate this season. Defending the paint has been a consistent issue for them, and it should persist to be an issue as they go up against the most efficient post player in the NBA, Nikola Jokic.

Another reason the Nuggets may have value here is their math edge on the Bulls. Denver has struggled to defend the 3-point line this season, but the Bulls don’t take a ton of threes as they rank 28th in 3-Point Rate. The Nuggets should win the 3-point battle here as they have a plethora of elite shooters and currently lead the league in 3-point percentage, making 43.0% of their threes. Denver should have offensive success here.

Vucevic’s Shooting Will Be Key for the Bulls

The Bulls actually rank 10th in Adjusted Net Rating on the season despite dealing with a number of key injuries to contributors like Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond and Coby White.

The Bulls have been the polar opposite of the Nuggets in terms of schedule strength as they have played the fourth-most difficult schedule of opponents, according to Despite the schedule difficulty and injuries, the Bulls have managed to hang around .500 while they try and get fully healthy.

They have been particularly strong on defense where they rank third in Adjusted Defensive Rating, but they’ll have their work cut out for them against this Nuggets offense.

The Bulls should get going on offense as the Nuggets have been poor on defense to begin the year. Denver ranks 26th in points per 100 possessions allowed on the year, according to Cleaning The Glass.

Chicago should stretch the floor and pull Jokic away from the rim with Nikola Vucevic’s elite shooting ability. Vucevic has quietly become one of the most effective stretch fives in the NBA as he is making nearly 40% of his threes on the season. His ability to shoot the deep ball should open things up for LaVine and DeMar DeRozan in this one.

Nuggets-Bulls Pick

I have to go Nuggets here off of a loss due to their ability to generate clean rim and 3-point looks on offense. Their defense has certainly struggled to defend the 3-point line, but the Bulls don’t have many catch-and-shoot 3-point shooters on their team as they rank just 28th in 3-point Rate on the year. Trust the Nuggets to bounce back on Sunday evening.

Pick:  Nuggets -1 (-110)