Late Odds to Open NBA Betting Value in Magic vs. Bulls?

Darin Zank

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 3:10 PM GMT

The Chicago Bulls are shooting for a conference championship this season; the Orlando Magic, on the other hand, have more limited goals, beginning with topping last year's 23-victory total. Here's our attempt at weeding out an ATS winner for the Bulls-Magic game Tuesday night at the United Center.

Magic-Bulls Betting Odds
As of early Tuesday morning the NBA betting market was holding off on releasing the NBA odds for this game, because of the injury situation with Chicago. Both Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson have missed recent action with sore ankles, and their status for this game was still a bit uncertain.

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Magic-Bulls: The Match-Up
Chicago went 48-34 last year, before falling in the first round of the playoffs to Washington. Over the off-season the Bulls lost Carlos Boozer, but added Pau Gasol and Aaron Brooks. And they hope to get a full healthy season out of Rose, although that might be asking a lot. As of earlier this week Chicago was getting 3/2 on the NBA futures market to win the Central Division, 5/2 to win the Eastern Conference and 6/1 to win its first NBA championship post-Jordan.

Chicago is off to a 2-1 start, 1-2 ATS. The Bulls opened with a 104-80 victory at New York, easily covering as five-point road favorites. Chicago shot 51 percent from the field, and held the Knicks to just 37 percent shooting. The Bulls then lost at home to Cleveland 114-108 in overtime, going down as four-point home chalk. Chicago outshot the Cavs 46 percent to 39 percent, but lost Rose in the fourth quarter and in the end committed 20 turnovers. Then Saturday the Bulls won at Minnesota 106-105 on a pair of Jimmy Butler free throws with one second to go. Chicago was only favored by two points in that game, because both Rose and Gibson were out. But the Bulls shot 48 percent and got a nice team effort, as six players scored in double-figures.

On the other side of this match-up Orlando, after going 20-62 and 23-59 the last two seasons, is in total youth-movement mode. The Magic are trying to collect a core of young talent, and they're having some success in that endeavor, but it's uncertain how many wins that will lead to this season. As of earlier this week Orlando could be found getting 200/1 to win the Southeast Division, 500/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 1000/1 to win the NBA championship.

The Magic are off to an 0-3 start, both SU and ATS. They opened with a 101-84 loss at New Orleans, missing ATS as nine-point road dogs. Orlando shot just 38 percent from the field, and committed 18 turnovers. The Magic then lost at home to Washington 105-98, coming up short ATS as four-point home dogs. Orlando shot 51 percent, but again committed 18 turnovers. And Saturday the Magic lost at home to Toronto 108-95, coming up cashless as six-point underdogs. Orlando shot 47 percent from the floor, but made just 12 of 24 from the free-throw line.

 

Statistically Speaking
Through its first three games Chicago ranks seventh in the league in FG shooting at 48 percent, and fourth in FG defense, holding foes to 40 percent. The Bulls are also shooting 37 percent from 3-point range, a notch better than last year's 35 percent, which caused them some problems.

Through its first three games Orlando has held opponents to less than 43 percent FG shooting, which is pretty good, but has also been outrebounded by almost seven per game. Also, the Magic have shot just 67 percent from the FT line. Getting beat up on the boards and missing free throws is not conducive to winning games or covering spreads in the NBA.

 

Magic-Bulls Recent History
Chicago took last season's series two games to one, but Orlando covered the spread in two of those three games. The Magic upset the Bulls in Chicago in December 83-82, winning outright as seven-point dogs. A month later the Bulls won in Orlando 128-125 in triple overtime, but the Magic covered as six-point home dogs. And in April Chicago beat the Magic back at the United Center 108-95, covering as an 11-point favorite.

Orlando shot 47 percent from the floor in those three games combined, while the Bulls shot just 42 percent.

 

Injury Update
Rose, who's played just 10 games over the last two seasons, is already dealing with a twisted ankle, as is Gibson (13 PPG, seven RPG last season). Both missed Saturday's game at Minnesota. But reports indicate both will play Tuesday night.

On the other side of the scorer's table Orlando is without G Victor Oladipo (14 PPG last season), who's still recovering after breaking a bone in his face during preseason.

 

Magic-Bulls Free Pick
This one is little tough to call, because of Rose's ankle, and the lack of a spread. Chicago is a good team without Rose, very good with a healthy Rose. But how effective might he be tonight? And if the Bulls build a lead, Rose might well be rested. Bettors should approach this game carefully, and perhaps wait until closer to tip-off before getting down. But in figuring Chicago might be a double-digit favorite, and the Orlando defense might be able to ugly this one up, we'll take the underdog and the points for our NBA picks here.

Free NBA Pick: Magic, plus as many points as we can find.