Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls (10/29 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.)
Philadelphia 76ers vs Chicago Bulls Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Philadelphia 76ers (2-4) are trekking to Chicago to face the Bulls (3-3) Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The 76ers are 1.5-point favorites over the Bulls. The over/under is set at 221 points.
The 76ers have won the last 11 matchups dating back to March 2019. Last season, the 76ers won two of four matchups by at least 10 points. In Chicago, the 76ers had an average margin of victory of 10 points. With a win, the 76ers would match the 12-game streak the Bulls had against the 76ers from January 2014 to January 2017.
Philadelphia has gotten off to a sluggish start, losing four of their first five games. While they did knock off the Toronto Raptors to split their matchups, the offense has not been firing on all cylinders so far. The 76ers are 25th in points per game and last in the NBA in pace. The 76ers do have three 20-points-per-game scorers, but the rest of the team has had some issues scoring. Tobias Harris is taking 11.3 shots per game, but he is shooting a less-than-stellar 44.1% from the field.
The three-headed monster begins with Joel Embiid and James Harden. Embiid is pouring in 27.6 points per game and 10.0 rebounds. He has struggled from three-point land (27.8%), but he has been efficient inside the arc (57.9% on twos) and is averaging 8.6 free-throw attempts per game (81.4%). Harden is playing a well-rounded style with 22.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game. He is shooting a respectable 36.6% from three, and he has hit 93.9% of his free throws. Tyrese Maxey broke out with a massive 44-point game in last night’s win over Toronto. He has already made 20 three-point shots this season.
While the Philadelphia offense has been underwhelming, the defense has been one of the better units in the league. The 76ers are fifth in points allowed per game, a big reason why they have a positive point differential despite their losing record. The 76ers are +1.1 in net rating, 13th in the NBA. They do not turn the ball over much, and they average the fewest personal fouls in the NBA, not allowing many easy baskets. De’Anthony Melton has been a useful defensive piece, nabbing 13 steals in six games.
Philadelphia is 2-3 ATS in their last five games. They are 1-3 straight up as favorites in those games, only beating (and covering the spread against) Indiana. The under is 4-1, a number that dropped from 228.5 to 214 in a matter of days.
The Bulls opened their season with a nice win in Miami, but they quickly dropped the next two to fall to 1-2. They rebounded with strong offensive performances against Boston and Indiana at home, but they blew a lead against the tanking San Antonio Spurs last night. All told, the Bulls have been quite average so far. They are 17th in scoring, 15th in defense, 14th in defensive rating, and 14th in net rating.
DeMar DeRozan has gotten off to a boiling start. He is averaging 26.2 points per game on 52.4% from the field. Similarly, Zach Lavine has been an early-season start from deep, hitting 57.9% of his three-point shots, knocking down 11 in three games. LaVine has been resting, so while he won’t be in the lineup every night, the Bulls will be much better when he plays.
The Bulls have been solid defensively. Alex Caruso has been a surprisingly effective perimeter defender so far, taking the load off of Chicago’s other guards. Caruso ranks 11th in the NBA in defensive box plus/minus. Javonte Green has also been useful, playing three different positions. Chicago faces an uphill battle with DeRozan and LaVine’s generally ineffective defense, but the Bulls do have some pieces they can deploy in key situations to get stops.
In Chicago’s last five games, they are 3-2 ATS. In the three games they were underdogs, they went 2-1 ATS with an outright win over Boston. The under is 3-2, hitting in two of Chicago’s last three home games.
Free Pick: Under 221
Philadelphia is a team that asserts its playstyle on the league. They have the slowest offense in the league, and the Bulls should be able to match the 76ers in their half-court sets. Under 221 should be a go-to bet as both teams have reasonable defenses and neither team turns NBA games into track meets. Philadelphia will live at the free-throw line, and DeRozan will live in the mid-range in a close game.
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