The Los Angeles Lakers continue their seven-game road trip with a visit to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. Here’s a complete preview for the game, including betting odds and our NBA picks.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls
Saturday, January 23, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at United Center
The Lakers opened as 9.5-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have them at -9. This leaves an 0.5-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. FiveThirtyEight gives the Lakers an 80 percent chance to win. The equivalent moneyline is -400.
USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has the Lakers at -7.68 using his Rating numbers, and at -14.75 using his eigenvector analysis, so there’s some room to grab potential betting value with the Bulls +9.5 at BetMGM.
Lakers Make a Statement in Milwaukee
The Lakers are off to a franchise-best 8-0 start on the road after beating the Bucks 113-106 in Milwaukee on Thursday. LeBron James had a monster game with 34 points, eight assists and six rebounds while making six 3-pointers and he was clutch late. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also came in huge with 23 points on 7 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Caldwell-Pope (plus-1.7 Offensive Box Plus/Minus, plus-1.1 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) has really stepped up at both ends of the floor this season and if his shots are falling the Lakers are pretty much unbeatable. It’s scary that the Lakers took care of the Bucks and scored 113 points with AD (18 points, nine rebounds and six assists) and Dennis Schroder (four points on 2 of 10 shooting) having relatively quiet nights. More on Schroder later…
LaVine and the Bulls Look for Payback Against LA
The Bulls haven’t forgotten about their recent visit to Los Angeles, as part of a stretch of four losses in five road games, all by four points or less. Closing games has been an issue for the Bulls but this is a team with a very potent offense, which ranks fourth in the NBA with 117.8 points per game.
Their defense is a work in progress (allowing 119.3 points per game, 28th in the league), which was more evident in all those games that got away but the Bulls could easily be 11-4 instead of 7-8, which says a lot about their potential. Chicago has now won three straight games, including Friday’s 123-110 victory in Charlotte. Zach LaVine led the way with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds, Lauri Markkanen added 23 points and Coby White finished with 18 points and eight assists.
The second unit also stepped up, led by Garrett Temple and Otto Porter Jr., who combined for 28 points. The Bulls forced 20 turnovers and limited the Hornets to 7-for-32 (21.9 percent) from 3-point range. If the Bulls want to keep up with the Lakers again, they need their reserves to have big games and they have to be successful defending the 3-point line.
Dennis Schroder (minus-2.2 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) is the one who can make or break this play for us. Schroder, who had 17 points and six assists in the first meeting against the Bulls, might be due for some positive regression after going just 2-for-10 from the field in Milwaukee. He will test Coby White (minus-2.6 Defensive Box Plus/Minus), who can keep up with him on offense but might have a hard time containing him.
The Bulls are an NBA-best 11-4 ATS this season, including 3-2 ATS at home and they were able to keep up with the Lakers in Los Angeles, losing 117-115 on January 8th, without Lauri Markkanen (plus-2.0 Offensive Box Plus/Minus). It’s true, the Lakers didn’t have Anthony Davis (plus-4.8 Offensive Box Plus/Minus, plus-2.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) in that hard-fought win but the Bulls are catching too many points at home and they’re finally coming together.
NBA Pick: Bulls +9.5 (-105) at BetMGM