Chicago Bulls vs San Antonio Spurs

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Chicago Bulls travel to the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, to take on the San Antonio Spurs in Saturday night NBA action beginning at 8:30 pm EST. The Spurs are currently favored by 2.5-points, up from 2 at the opening, while the total stands at 223.5-points, also up from 222.5.

The Bulls lost their 2nd-straight and 4 of their last 5 after falling by 9-points at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night. This game was tight early on before the Cavaliers began to assert themselves on the defensive end in the 2nd-half allowing just 39 points. The Bulls’ offense posted under 100 points for the 2nd-straight game with Zack LaVine leading the way with 22-points on a dismal 8-20 shooting night (4-9 from deep). However, it should be mentioned that the guard committed 5 of the team’s 15 turnovers while missing 20 of 28 shots from long-range. Chicago failed to cover as 7.5-point favorites and have failed to do so in 3 of their last 5 games.

The Spurs fell for the 4th-straight outing as they were swept at home in a 2-game home set versus the Los Angeles Clippers due to a 13-point defeat in the finale Thursday night. And while San Antonio was able to recover from a horrible defensive performance in the opening period to go up by 6 at the half, the offense was non-existent in the final half scoring just 30 points en route to their 20th win of the year. The defense gave up just 38% shooting on this night; However, the rebounding battle was dominated by the Clippers by a 57-39 margin as they recorded 14 offensive boards. DeMar DeRozan led with 23 points on 8-19 shooting while Dejounte Murray finished with 18 while missing 10 of 18 shots. The Spurs failed to cover as 1-point dogs and are 0-3 ATS in their last 3 outings.

The Spurs have a slight advantage in terms of wins and losses versus the Bulls picking up wins in 6 of 10 meetings (3 of 4 at home). On the other hand, Chicago is 6-4 ATS during this time while going 2-2 against the number at the AT&T Center.

Bulls struggling on the offensive end

Chicago is averaging just 97 points in their last 3 outings. For an offense that is ranked in the top-12 in points scored per game (113 ppg), field goal percentage (48% FG), along with 2-point percentage (38% 3FG), their most recent performances have been disappointing. LaVine is coming off a night versus the Cavaliers to where he posted 22 points; However, he missing 12 of 20 shots while committing 5 of the team’s 15 turnovers. With the loss, the Bulls are 19-24 on the year, only 1.5-games ahead of the Cavaliers for 3rd-place in the Central division while being 1.5-games behind the Indiana Pacers for 2nd.

The good news is that LaVine was on fire in the team’s 10-days ago versus the Spurs posting 29 points, 6 boards, along with 6 assists on 12-21 shooting as the Bulls narrowly out-shot San Antonio. However, 17 Bulls turnovers was the difference-maker along with Chicago’s inability to keep the Spurs off the free-throw line (22-30 FT).

Patrick Williams, who has posted single digits in 3 of his last 4 starts, recorded a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds while Thaddeus Young along with Lauri Markannen finishing with 16 and 10 points, respectively, as the latter missed 4 of 6 treys.

Spurs desperately seeking a win

During their 4-game skid, San Antonio’s defense gave up an average of 115-points. On the other hand, the offense has really regressed during this time posting just 103-points, including scoring less than 100-points in 2 of their last 4 matchups. To make matters worse, Lonnie Walker IV, who is averaging 12 points per game on the year, has been declared out for his contest due to a wrist injury.

Due to their recent play, San Antonio now stands at 22-20 and hold a slim advantage in the Southwest division standings over the Memphis Grizzlies. On the other hand, they resumed play after the All-Star break 1st in the division only to be leap-frogged by the Dallas Mavericks. Now, the Spurs seek to get back on track during their current 9-game home stand. However, it should be mentioned that the Spurs are 3-games below .500 in 23-homers in 2020-21.

DeRozan did not suit up for the team’s last meeting versus the Bulls due to personal reasons; However, Jakob Poeltl led the way with 20 points and 16 rebounds on 9-11 shooting while Derrick White, who had a miserable shooting night versus the Clippers, finished with 17 points on just 4-14 FG while missing 5 of 7 from deep. Dejounte Murray scored 14 points on 6-17 shooting while racking up 7 rebounds and 4 dimes. Important to note that Murray posted 18 points versus Los Angeles, equivalent to the points that he posted in his last 2 starts.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Spurs have struggled against the number in recent outings.  However, with LaVine being questionable for this contest with an ankle injury, I will certainly jump on the Spurs to get it done at home and cover the small spread.  DeRozan will be in the lineup for this matchup and he will certainly provide an offensive lift to a team that posted just over 100 points in a victory versus Chicago earlier in the month.  Furthermore, the Spurs have covered in 2 of their last 3 meetings versus the Bulls in San Antonio and I expect them to grind out a victory in this contest as well.

San Antonio Spurs -2.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

The under is 3-1 in the last 4 homers for the Spurs while being 7-1 in the last 8 for the Bulls, overall.  Besides, one can expect for the scoring to drop off considerably if LaVine is not able to suit up.  San Antonio has had their fair share of issues on the offensive end this season scoring just 109 points per game, even less during their current losing skid.  In all, look for this contest to be one that is slower-paced and low-scoring as the under will certainly be the strong play.

Under 223.5