The Utah Jazz (36-11) will look for their eighth straight win as they host the reeling Chicago Bulls (19-27), losers of five straight this Friday. For obvious reasons, the Jazz will be huge favorites on the NBA betting lines: 12½ on the point spread. It’s a steep handicap, but it’s either Utah or a pass.
These two teams met previously and Utah beat the breaks out of the Bulls in their own building. The Jazz shut down the Bulls’ offense while lighting them up from three. I expect it to be more of the same despite the roster changes Chicago has made.
Chicago Bulls: Getting Exposed
When the Bulls traded for Nikola Vucevic, they were supposed to get a lot better. “Vooch” has fit right in with the team and is putting up 22 points and 9.3 rebounds. But this did little to stop Chicago’s slide as they lost all three games with him on the team.
What’s killing Chicago is exactly what it’s been weak to for the season: defense. But it went from bad to worse as the Bulls are averaging the third-lowest defensive rating during this span and have a -11.8 net rating.
Chicago is allowing teams to shoot over 53% from the field and that includes over 40% from deep. It’s not just lackadaisical defense that’s killing the Bulls. The team is too sloppy with the basketball. It’s averaging the most turnovers and giving up the most points off of them.
The Bulls’ offense has been exposed. It’s down to just 48.9 from an effective field goal (EFG%) standpoint. The top defenses in the NBA have started to expose this team and it can only hope the new additions help turn things around.
Peak Form Utah Jazz
The Jazz are one of these top defenses and arguably even the best. Utah has the third-best defensive rating in the league. They’re limiting opponents to just 50.5 EFG%, which is the best mark in the NBA.
C Rudy Gobert may get most of the attention as far as defense goes, but plenty of the credit goes to the team’s perimeter defenders. F Royce O’Neale and F Joe Ingles have done a tremendous job locking out three-point shooters.
On the other end, the Jazz are hitting the most threes in the league. This combination of stopping opponents’ three-point shooting while unloading on theirs is why the Jazz lead the NBA in net rating at +9.1
There isn’t much else to say about Utah, except that they’re on fire and have gone 30-16-1 against the spread. The Jazz’s money train is at full speed.
Utah should destroy the Bulls like they did the last time on the strength of… well, everything. The Bulls don’t have much of an advantage anywhere. The Jazz are shooting better, defending better, and most importantly, they’re at home.
Chicago may be 15-6 ATS while on the road, but none of those games came against Utah. Not to mention that G Zach LaVine (ankle) and G Coby White (neck) may not play, taking out two of the Bulls’ main scoring options. The line might get higher quickly.
The Jazz, on the other hand, are 20-2 and 17-4-1 ATS at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. They have an NBA-best 28-5 record in double-digit games and are 20-4 against teams below .500. G Donovan Mitchell (personal) may still be out of the lineup but that won’t stop them from rolling through Chicago.
I’m not sure if it’ll be 25 points again. Maybe it’ll be 35 or 15 this time. Bet online on Utah and the dozen points and don’t think twice.