Game: Phoenix Suns @ Chicago Bulls
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Suns -7, Bulls +7
The Chicago Bulls welcome the NBA’s best, Phoenix, to town tonight and the home team will be playing an unfamiliar role – the underdog. This will mark just the fifth time all season that the Bulls have been a home underdog, but they were never more than +3 in any of the previous four games. The reason Phoenix is favored so heavily is simple – injuries.
The injuries are mounting for Chicago, which is 1-2 in its last three games. Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams, and Derrick Jones Jr. are all listed as out for tonight. Zach LaVine and Coby White are both questionable and neither played in the Bulls 119-108 loss to Philadelphia just yesterday. Even if both White and LaVine play, Chicago will be nowhere near full strength.
If White and LaVine are out, the Bulls’ only real scoring threats will be DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. The Bulls are a top ten offense and actually lead the NBA in field goal percentage. If the six players on the injury report do not play tonight, the effect on the Bulls’ defense may be even greater. The Suns (42-10) have the NBA’s third-highest scoring offense (112.7 ppg).
Phoenix incurred a rare loss to Atlanta last Thursday. The Suns are now 12-1 in their last 13 games. They responded with a 95-80 win over Washington on Saturday. It could have been an even bigger win, but the Wizards won the garbage time battle outscoring Phoenix 29-10 in the fourth quarter. The Bulls will have to deal with a pretty healthy Phoenix too, which means they will get a dose of Deandre Ayton. In the Bulls’ recent loss to Philadelphia, Sixers big man Joel Embiid went off for 40 points against Chicago. Ayton isn’t Embiid, but he’s a quality young big man that could enjoy success against a shorthanded Bulls defense.
The Suns have covered the spread in eight of their last 12 games. They are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against the Bulls. In their last seven games against the Bulls in Chicago, Phoenix is also 5-2 ATS. The Bulls are just 1-2 ATS in their last three games, but they have fared well against the number at home this season. Chicago is 17-9 ATS in home games this season and they are one of the better teams against the spread this season (30-22-1 overall).
The total has gone Over in Chicago’s last six games. Don’t forget, Phoenix is third in the league in scoring, but they are also very good defensively. The Over/Under in Suns games this season is 24-28 and 9-16 when they are playing on the road. In the Suns-Bulls series, the Under is 4-2 in the last six meetings.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Suns have won the last three in a row and the two teams have averaged a total of 218.7 points in those three games.