Monday NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bulls vs. Lakers Betting Preview
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- The Bulls are now a 2-point favorite over the Lakers in Monday night's matchup, up one point from earlier in the day.
- Chicago is looking to cap off a tough road trip, while Los Angeles needs to get on track without LeBron James.
- Get our full Bulls vs. Lakers pick and preview below.
Updated Bulls at Lakers Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
The Chicago Bulls continue their West Coast trip with their second game in as many nights at Staples Center, this time against the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back and coming off wins on Sunday.
Can the Lakers get a win at home before a big road trip through the East, or will the Bulls pull off the sweep in L.A.? Let’s take a look at both sides and see where the value lies in Monday night’s matchup.
The Bulls Can Do It All on Both Ends
The Bulls are one of the most interesting stories in the NBA so far this season. The additions they made in the offseason — Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan — are already paying dividends. Last season, the Bulls ranked 21st in Offensive Rating and 12th in Defensive Rating. This season, they have a top-five Defensive Rating (104.3) and rank 13th in Offensive Rating.
Offensively, the Bulls are making a concerted effort to play in transition more. Last season, they were bottom five in the league in the frequency of plays they had in transition (12.7%), according to NBA Advanced Stats. That frequency is up to 16.5% this season, and the Bulls rank second in points per play in Transition (1.19), Field Goal percentage in Transition (57.9%) and ninth in fastbreak points (14.1).
This is an area where their defense is leading directly to points on the other end. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Bulls have added 3.1 points per 100 possessions off steals, well above the league average of 1.6.
Of course, it helps when you have an elite passer like Ball who can make plays like this:
The Bulls are also effective in half court sets as well. They rank 11th in points per possession in the half court on Cleaning the Glass, fourth in the frequency of pick-and-roll plays that end with the ball handler and sixth in points scored per game on those plays NBA Advanced Stats.
For a team that is still relatively new as a whole, the Bulls seem to be meshing well in all areas on both ends of the floor.
How Long Before the Lakers Find Chemistry?
Lakers fans and the national media that covers the team tend to be a bit … dramatic when it comes to the day-to-day surrounding the purple and gold. By no means have the Lakers been great, or good, or even consistent. But the sky certainly isn’t falling in L.A. either.
Their metrics still leave a lot to be desired — 20th in Net Rating, mostly dragged down by their 23rd-ranked Offensive Rating. The defense has been solid, though, even with LeBron James sidelined with an abdominal injury. Since he’s been out, the Lakers rank 11th in Defensive Rating (106.2) and have slowed the pace down a bit to seventh in the league (100.83).
The offense has been a work in progress and that centers around Russell Westbrook’s struggles so far this season. The Lakers are scoring just 100.5 points per 100 possessions when Westbrook is on the floor compared to 107.9 per 100 when he’s off the floor.
Westbrook had similar struggles to start last season, too, before flipping the switch after the All-Star break. But February is a long way off and with James on the bench right now, Westbrook’s impact can’t continue to be a negative one.
There is some upside for the Lakers. Talen Horton-Tucker returned from his thumb injury and looked good in his first game back. But until the rest of the roster gets healthy, this will be an inconsistent group on a nightly basis.
The Bulls flipped from 1.5-point dogs at some books when this line opened to 1.5-point favorites. And the total in this game has fallen from 219 to 216.5 since opening. Despite the line falling, 97% of money being bet on this total is hitting the over while 62% of betting tickets are on the under, according to our Action Network public betting data.
Both of these teams like to get out and run — Lakers are No. 4 and Bulls are No. 9 in fast break points per game. Both can allow teams to run as well — the Lakers allow 13.6 opponent fastbreak points per game and the Bulls allow 11.6. Westbrook’s high rate of turnovers will likely contribute to a few easy points on the other end for the Bulls.
On Sunday, the Bulls held the L.A. Clippers to 90 points, which, on its face seems to prove that their top-five defense is legit. But the Clippers’ shooters went 18-of-52 on uncontested field goals, including 7-of-30 from Paul George and Reggie Jackson.
The Bulls allow opponents to shoot 35.9% on 3s (24th in the NBA) and the Lakers have shooters — Carmelo Anthony, Wayne Ellington, Malik Monk — who can make the Bulls pay for leaving them open. And with the Bulls coming off a later back-to-back, I think we’ll some tired legs and less of an effort to close out to the 3-point line.
I lean toward the over here and I’d wait to see if the line falls even farther before tip off.
Lean: Over 216.5 (up to 218.5)