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Bet on the NBAIt would seem that the matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the New Jersey Nets Thursday night would be one of the biggest mismatches of the season so far. After all, Chicago is sitting on top of the Eastern Conference right now, while the Nets are somewhere near the bottom. But the Bulls have had a very difficult time winning games in New Jersey, dropping 16 of the last 17.

And the Nets are finally finding some success this season. Despite going 22-43 so far, New Jersey has won five straight games, their longest winning streak since March 12-April 6, 2006 when they won 14 in a row. The Bulls are on their own seven game win streak as they go into the New Jersey game, but there is a lot of recent history they need to turn around after losing 16 of 17 on the Nets' home court.

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Chicago may also be playing without its two big men. Carlos Boozer has missed three games so far with a left ankle sprain, while Joakim Noah missed the Tuesday night game against the Wizards with flu-like symptoms. It is unclear whether either of the two will be back tonight, but Noah should probably play against the Nets. The illness was not believed to be that serious.

The Bulls have won seven straight games, which is impressive. Can they make it an eighth game tonight? The last time Chicago won eight in a row was March 19-April 2, 2005, nearly six years ago. One of New Jersey's wins in their own streak was against the second-place team in the East, the Boston Celtics. So the Nets are beginning to prove they can compete in the NBA, albeit sporadically.

The NBA odds list the Bulls as 5.5 point favorites to win. If Chicago had a history of winning games in New Jersey, and if the Nets had lost to the Celtics, those odds would probably be weighed a lot heavier in Chicago's favor. But the sportsbook also takes into account all of these factors pointing towards a potential Bulls loss tonight.

But when your team has Derrick Rose on it, history might not mean anything.


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