Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls

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The Chicago Bulls take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center in Chicago in Saturday night NBA action beginning at 9 pm EST. The Lakers are favored by 9-points while the total is currently standing at 227.5-points.

The Lakers were able to atone for a home loss to the Golden State Warriors last Sunday in taking out a solid Milwaukee Bucks team Thursday night as LeBron James posted 34 points along with 8 assists in a solid shooting night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also showed up big for Los Angeles in connecting on 7 treys to finish with 23 points as the Lakers shot 47% from the floor in addition to hitting 19 3-pointers. Los Angeles has covered in 5 of their last 6 games as they were able to cover as 1.5-point underdogs versus the Bucks.

The Bulls were able to win their 6th-game of the season as they won their 2nd-straight versus the slumping Houston Rockets at home Monday night by 5-points. Zach LeVine poured in 33 points while accounting for the team’s 20 3-pointers in the win as the Bulls boasted 7 double-digit scorers in the win. And while the defensive effort for the Bulls was awful, they were able to withstand 30+ point efforts from Victor Oladipo along with Christian Wood in the victory. Like the Lakers, Chicago has also been red-hot against the number as of late covering in 8 of their last 10, including as 2-point dogs versus the Rockets.

The Lakers take the floor seeking to win their 8th-straight outright over Chicago, including their 5th-straight at the United Center. However, the Bulls have covered in their last 2 meetings versus Los Angeles including in 5 of the last 10 meetings, overall. On the other hand, the Lakers are 3-1 ATS in their last 4 roadies versus Chicago.

Lakers continue to get it done defensively in win over Bucks

Despite allowing 51% shooting to the Bucks, this produced just 106 points as the Lakers rebounded to begin their extended road trip on a winning note. And while Milwaukee boasted 3 20+ point scorers with Giannis Antetokounmpo posting a double-double (25 points and 12 boards), the forward committed 9 of the team’s 14 turnovers on the night. In their last 6 outings, Los Angeles has allowed only an average of 106 points, just around their average of 105 points (2nd). Furthermore, they are ranked in the top 10 in field goal and 3-point percentage allowed. However, they now face a team in the Bulls that has not had many issues putting points on the board this year. On the other hand, their problem has been preventing teams from scoring.

And while James (24 ppg, 8 rebs) and Anthony Davis (21 ppg, 9 rebs, blk) receive most of the headlines for the Lakers’ 12-4 start to the season, Caldwell-Pope (11 ppg) has played with a ton of confidence in recent outings averaging 16 points per in his last 5 games. Equally as outstanding is that the guard is not only connecting on over 54% of his shots from the field, but is hitting 57% of 3’s this season. Important to note that Dennis Schroder struggled versus the Bucks (2-10 FG/0-3 3FG), he will certainly look to get back on track versus a Chicago team that has given up at least 117 points in each of their last 6 games.

The Lakers posted 117 at home versus the Bulls earlier this month with James posting 28 on an efficient night as the team finished with 5 double-digit scorers. Davis along with Caldwell-Pope did not suit up for the game, yet Los Angeles shot 51% as a team while hitting 12 3-pointers.

LaVine continues to put up big numbers for Bulls

Chicago is averaging 117 points per game this year on nearly 48% shooting (39% from long-range) while posting an average of 125 points in their last 4 outings. LaVine has been a huge reason for the team’s success as he is not only shooting an outstanding 50% from the field, but is a respectable 39% from deep well. Furthermore, the point guard has recorded 6 30+ point nights in his last 8 games, overall, after finishing with 33 points along with 7 assists on a solid shooting night versus the struggling Houston Rockets in their last time out. In all, this Bulls team will take the court looking to go only a game below .500 with a win versus the Lakers.

Lauri Markkanen (19 ppg, 7 rebs) posted 18 versus the Rockets and continues to provide a spark for the offense (40% from deep) while shooting guard Garrett Temple (10 ppg) has also been a huge performer making 43% of his shots from deep (career high). However, it should be noted that the Bulls will be without double-digit starter Wendell Carter, Jr. (13 ppg, 8 rebs) as the center has been ruled out due to a thigh injury. Patrick Williams (10 ppg), who is also shooting 50% from long-range, has not played since a January 17th Chicago win on the road versus the Dallas Mavericks, but is probable to re-join the team for this contest.

On the other hand, the Bulls must play better defense as they are currently ranked as one of the worst defensive teams in the league in all major categories. In fact, they gave up over 50% shooting to a shorthanded Houston squad Monday night to allow 120 point or more in 3 of their last 4 contests. It should be mentioned that Chicago has had some rough performances on the defensive end in recent matchups versus the Lakers as they have surrendered an average of 120 points in each of their last 3.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The Lakers enter this contest riding a 4-game road win streak, not to mention taking out one of the best squads in the East in the Bucks in their last outing.  Combine this with the team getting max production from Caldwell-Pope from the perimeter at this time, and I see the Lakers pulling away from a shaky defense for the Bulls while covering the points.  Of course, the Bulls should be given credit for having won 2-straight; However, their wins were against struggling teams to which they were torched defensively.  Look for the Lakers to do the same as they will win their 5th-straight roadie.

Los Angeles Lakers -9

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Full-Game Total Pick

And while the under has been the call in 4 of the last 7 meetings between these 2 teams, the over has been result in 3-straight.  LaVine is playing out of his mind at this points and while the Bulls have struggled throughout the year, they have really put up some big numbers on the scoreboard.  The Lakers have trended towards the under in recent road games, however, with the Bulls being so horrible on this end of the court, expect the road team to have yet another efficient night from the floor in a high-scoring affair.

Over 227.5