Two teams headed in opposite directions meet tonight when Chicago plays at Portland.
The Chicago Bulls (6-4 over last 10) are hanging on to the final spot in the play-in tournament in the East while the Portland Trail Blazers (3-7 over last 10) are 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the West’s final play-in seed.
I’m betting this game based on recent trends and season-long tendencies, and you might want to keep reading to see what those are.
Bulls vs. Blazers odds
Bulls vs. Blazers prediction
Chicago has outscored its opponents by 0.5 points per game over its last 10 while Portland has been outscored by a whopping 8.2 points per game over that same stretch.
Portland has become a nearly one-dimensional offense and when Dame Lillard isn’t scoring and 3-pointers aren’t falling, the Trail Blazers aren’t going to beat many teams.
Though Chicago owns the 12-best opponent 3-point percentage in the NBA (35.6%), the Bulls are near dead-last in total 3-pointers against (13.2 allowed per game).
The Bulls aren’t just a solid defensive team on the perimeter, either. Chicago has allowed offensive rebounds on just 22.2% of opportunities (3rd best in the NBA) while also ranking eighth in defensive efficiency.
Chicago is also top-10 in the NBA in limiting fouls, and that’s a key to stopping Lillard and the Blazers. Portland is top-10 in the association in both free throws (25.3) and 3-pointers (35.5) attempted per game.
If the Bulls can play anywhere close to their season averages on defense, they should be able to limit a rather one-dimensional Portland offense.
Take the Bulls to stay hot as they chase better seeding in the East, but wait until you hear about the injury status for DeMar DeRozan first. If DeRozan is ruled out, these odds will likely move.
Pick: Chicago moneyline
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.