Celtics vs. Bulls NBA expert prediction and odds for Thursday, Feb. 22 (Trust Chicago at home)

Betting odds, pick and prediction for the Boston Celtics-Chicago Bulls matchup in the NBA on Thursday.
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White.
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White. / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls are in the mix for a playoff spot this season, sitting in the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 26-29 record through the league’s All-Star break. 

Chicago has a two-game cushion on the No. 10-seeded Atlanta Hawks, but it still is a ways out of the No. 8 spot (which would guarantee the team two chances in the play-in tournament to make the playoffs) at this point in the season. 

The Bulls have a tough matchup out of the break, as they’ll host the Boston Celtics, who have the most wins in the NBA (43-12) this season. Boston has won six straight games, but the team has been beatable on the road, going 17-9 this season.  

With Zach LaVine out for the season, the Bulls are going to lean heavily on Coby White, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic the rest of the way. Can they pull off an upset – or at least a cover – as home underdogs on Thursday?

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Here’s a look at the latest odds for Bulls-Celtics, including my best bet for this matchup: 

Celtics vs. Bulls odds, spread and total

Celtics vs. Bulls how to watch

  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 22
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: United Center
  • How to watch (TV): NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Chicago
  • Celtics record: 43-12
  • Bulls record: 26-29

Celtics vs. Bulls injury reports

Celtics injury report

  • Xavier Tillman – day-to-day
  • Jaden Springer – day-to-day
  • Kristaps Porzingis – day-to-day
  • Al Horford – day-to-day

Bulls injury report

  • Torrey Craig – out
  • Lonzo Ball – out
  • Zach LaVine – out
  • Patrick Williams – out

Celtics vs. Bulls key players to watch

Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum: Did Tatum put a bit of a target on his back for the rest of the season? The Celtics star claimed he’s the best player in the NBA in a recent interview, putting some major expectations on himself this season. 

Tatum has been great in the 2023-24 season despite his points per game dropping, as he’s averaging more assists per game and shooting a better percentage from the field and from 3. Overall, he’s putting up 27.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for Boston. 

Chicago Bulls

Coby White: While he wasn’t an All-Star this season, Coby White is trending in that direction. The young guard is averaging 19.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game (all career-highs) this season. The Bulls have to be excited about his development, especially since LaVine’s injury has left a massive hole in the team’s offense that White has done a good job to fill. 

Celtics vs. Bulls prediction and pick

Boston has been far from a covering machine when it is favored on the road, going just 9-12-3 against the spread in that spot this season. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls are one of the best home teams in the NBA, especially when they are set as home underdogs. Chicago is 7-3-1 against the spread in that spot in the 2023-24 campaign. 

Boston did win the first meeting between these teams by 27 points in Boston, but the Bulls entered the break playing some pretty solid basketball, ranking No. 11 in offensive rating and No. 15 in net rating over their last 10 games. 

I don’t think Chicago pulls off the upset, but the team did cover in five of its last seven games before the break, including an outright win as a home dog against the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

I’ll take the points in this matchup as both teams look to regain their footing after a week off.  

Pick: Bulls +8 (-110)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.