This is a game only those putting together NBA picks would like since the amount of intrigue between the Bulls and Lakers is like those Super Bowl articles written to understand Marshawn Lynch.
The only redeeming value about the Los Angeles team which wears yellow and purple this season was Kobe Bryant and now he’s gone.
If sports journalists want to dabble in psychological babble, they might try Chicago, since for the last few seasons this teams has played like Mel Gibson in – Mad Max2: Road Warriors - compared to Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, “where there is no place like home”.
Bulls Thrive on the Road Compared to Home
Chicago is 17-6 and 13-10 ATS away from the Windy City this season and NBA basketball handicappers like yours truly others have been watching an unusual occurrence for years.
The Bulls are a well below average 13-11 and 8-16 ATS at the United Center this season. For those following the betting odds, these are not rare numbers since Chicago was 35-55 ATS the prior two playing at home. On the road, coach Tom Thibodeau’s team was a respectable 46-45 and 49-44-1
ATS the last two years, largely without Derrick Rose, but how can one explain the continued home woes by the Bulls?
Two nights ago was the perfect example of trying to comprehend Rose and his teammates. Golden State not only has the best record in the NBA, but came into their game with Chicago with the best home record (21-1) and was a favorite among those making sports picks with their 16-5-1 ATS mark.
So what does Chicago do, hand the Warriors just their second home loss of the season 113-111 in OT. Rose was the shining star with 33 points, but it was the Bulls defense which held Steve Kerr’s crew to just 42.5 percent accuracy.
These types of games prove what Chicago is capable of and they hope to keep the same level of intensity on the rest of this road trip.
Lakers are sinking into the Abyss
It was a given the Los Angeles Lakers were not going to be a good team this campaign, however, at least to those drilling down daily on the NBA odds, at least they had play on potential and as of Jan. 10th, the Lakers were 20-15-2 against the spread.
But just like one of those scary movies filmed in L.A., after creeping along in a house that did not feel quite right, coach Byron Scott’s team collectively stepped on the loose floorboard and fell down the trap door.
Since ousting Orlando earlier this month, the former “Lake Show” has turned into a horror flick with nine consecutive losses and a 1-6-2 ATS record. With Kobe Bryant out with a torn rotator cuff to his right shoulder, there are few solutions for coach Scott to replace the 22.3 points which has exited the lineup.
During this losing streak, L.A. has only reached triple digits twice and barely accomplished that much (102 and 100 points). While the roster was constructed with Kobe in mind, it sure seems likes it’s time to look to the future and possibly Scott should make this a more up-tempo team. They rank in the middle of the NBA stats in fastbreak points and efficiency, thus pick up the pace and see what you can do. What is there to do lose, the fear of losing another game with a 12-34 record?
Betting Odds and Head to Head
Chicago has won four of the past five meetings, which included a 20-point blowout on Christmas Day at home. The Bulls are 1-7 and 3-5 ATS at the Staples Center in recent sojourns, but that was against much better Lakers teams.
With Jimmy Butler’s status unclear as of this morning, most online sportsbooks did post a number on this TNT tilt until 10:15 EST and they made Chicago an 8.5- point favorite with a total of 194.5.
Chicago is on a six-game road trip, but it is friendly excursion because after they are Phoenix tomorrow night, they can return home since the Game 4 of the trip is not until next Wednesday in Houston. The Bulls are 14-9 and 9-14 ATS with a day between games.
After this contest, Los Angeles heads east to play four times and will visit New York, Milwaukee, Orlando and Cleveland starting Sunday. The Lakers are 9-20 and 12-14-3 ATS with one day off.
This very much feels like a flat spot for Chicago coming off the big win at Golden State and a tougher contest tomorrow in the desert. The Lakers held a 19-point lead on Washington two nights ago and failed to bring it home but managed to cover.
The Bulls will win the game, just in the four to five point range, meaning that we will place our NBA picks on the home dogs in tonight's TNT finale.
NBA Basketball Free Pick – Take Lakers +8.5 at BetOnline