Utah Jazz vs Chicago Bulls

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The Utah Jazz are in first place in the Northwest division-leading both the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers by 5 games. However, Utah has struggled over the last 2 weeks losing four of the last seven. Utah is 30-11 and first in the Western Conference 2 ½ games ahead of both the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. The Jazz defeated the Toronto Raptors 115-112 on Friday with Donovan Mitchell scoring a team-high 31 points in the victory.

Chicago will play its second game in as many days on Monday when hosting Utah. The Bulls play on the road Sunday against the Detroit Pistons before returning home to the United Center to face the Jazz on Monday. Chicago is 18-22 and tied for second with the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division 8 ½ games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. Chicago has lost two straight with its most recent loss 131-127 in overtime to the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Defense Key to Utah’s Success

Utah is fifth in the NBA in points allowed at 108.9 points per game and a big part of that is strong rebounding as Utah is second in the NBA in rebounding with an average of 47.8 points per game. Utah averages 36.9 rebounds per game on the defensive boards and 11.0 off the offensive glass. The leading rebounder is Rudy Gobert with an average of 13.5 boards per contest. The Utah defense averages 6.5 steals per game and protects the rim well with an average of 5.4 blocked shots per contest. Mike Conley is the leader in steals with an average of 1.4 per game and Gobert is the swat leader with an average of 2.8 blocked shots per game.

Utah’s offense is equally as good as the defense as the Jazz are scoring an average of 116.7 points per game which is third in the NBA. The leading scorer for Utah is Donovan Mitchell with an average of 25.3 points per game and Jordan Clarkson is the second leading scorer with an average of 17.6 points per game. Conley is the leader in assists with an average of 5.5 per game. Utah as a team averages 23.7 assists and 13.7 turnovers per game for a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Jazz are shooting 46.7% overall.

Injury Report: Udoka Azubuike is out indefinitely

Bulls must make more stops on defense

Chicago is 24th in the NBA in points allowed with an average of 114.5 points per game and over their last two games played the Bulls have allowed an average of 118.5 points per game which has resulted in two losses. Chicago is allowing opponents to shoot 47.4% overall which is 23rd in the NBA. On the boards, Chicago Is averaging 44.7 rebounds per game with 35.4 on the defensive end and 9.3 per game off the offensive glass. Wendell Carter Jr. is the leading rebounder with an average of 7.9 rebounds per game. Chicago averages 6.8 steals and 4.4 blocked shots per game with Thaddeus Young the leader in steals with an average of 1.3 per game and Daniel Gafford the resident swat commander with an average of 1.1 blocked shots per game.

Chicago’s offense is scoring slightly less than the defense is allowing at an average of 114.3 points per game which is the 11th in the NBA. Zach LaVine leads the scoring parade for Chicago with an average of 28.5 points per game while Lauri Markkanen is the second-leading scorer with an average of 18.5 points per game. LaVine is also the dish leader for Chicago with a team-high 5.0 assists per contest. Chicago averages 26.4 assists but is turning the ball over far too many times with an average of 15.2 miscues per game, which gives the Bulls a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Injury Report: Devon Dotson is out indefinitely, while Garrett Temple is questionable for Monday

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Chicago Bulls will find it difficult to defeat the Utah Jazz on Monday but will play well enough to cover the spread. Utah Jazz has failed to cover the spread in five of the last six games overall, while going 3-3 straight up over that span. Although Chicago has not covered the spread well this season overall, the Bulls will be returning home to play Utah. Chicago at home has covered the spread in two of the last three. The Bulls will play an up-tempo offense and are 11th in the NBA in points scored with an average of 114.3 points per game, in an attempt to keep the game closer to have a shot at stealing it late.

Prediction:
Chicago Bulls +9.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Utah is third in the NBA in scoring and Chicago is 11th in the league in scoring. The total has finished over in six of Utah’s last eight games overall and in six of the last seven games that Utah has played on the road. Chicago will be playing its second game in as many days and the defense for the Bulls could be a step slower making it easier for Utah to score on more possessions. An up-tempo game is expected with both teams seeing more possessions.

Prediction:
OVER 231