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Friday NBA Betting Odds & Picks for Bulls vs. Jazz: Utah’s Defense Will Stifle Chicago as Heavy Favorite (April 2)

Friday NBA Betting Odds & Picks for Bulls vs. Jazz: Utah’s Defense Will Stifle Chicago as Heavy Favorite (April 2) article feature image

Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Rudy Gobert.

  • A new-look Chicago Bulls team is struggling and Friday's matchup with the Utah Jazz isn't what the doctor ordered.
  • Chicago has improved its interior offense with Nikola Vučević, but that wasn't the problem the last time these teams met.

Bulls vs. Jazz Odds

Bulls Odds +12
Jazz Odds -12
Moneyline +500 / -700
Over/Under 225.5
Time Friday, 9 p.m. ET
TV League Pass
Odds as of Friday and via BetMGM

Still out for their first win since making a splash at the trade deadline, the Chicago Bulls will go from facing a great defense in the Suns to a somehow even better one in the Jazz.

Utah’s perimeter defense suffocated Chicago when these two sides met back a few weeks ago, so is this game going to be as simple as that one, or is there value in taking the points here with a revamped Bulls offense?

Let’s dig into the matchup a bit and find a side to take.

Chicago Bulls

The backslide continues for the Chicago Bulls, who have lost five straight games and three in a row since adding Nikola Vučević at the trade deadline. The Bulls have lost to five stout defenses in Utah, Cleveland, San Antonio, Golden State and Phoenix during their skid, and one of those squads will be in their way again on Friday.

The Jazz abused the Bulls back when they played a couple weeks ago, but Chicago will hope that Vučević gives them a little bit more of a formidable offensive attack this go around. Chicago managed to outrebound Utah and outscore their opponent in the paint 62-50, but a 23.1% shooting clip from 3-point range really did the Bulls in.

Those numbers make it hard to say that Vucevic should solve all their problems, considering they really didn’t lack paint scoring, though to his credit he has shot above 40% from 3-point range this year and takes around six per game. Chicago is hitting just 27.7% of threes over its past four games and unless Vučević wants to jack up 11 triples here, something’s got to give.

The Bulls did manage to cover on Wednesday night against the Suns thanks to a last-second Thaddeus Young layup for their first cover in five games, something which highlights that none of these games have been close.

A potential saving grace here is that Chicago has played its best basketball away from home with a 15-6 record against the spread (ATS) on the road and a 12-4 mark ATS when they’re the road underdog.

Utah Jazz

If you hadn’t heard by now, the death star is fully operational once more.

Utah has won seven in a row and covered in four of its last six games while playing incredibly well on both sides of the ball. The Jazz are coming off a win against the Grizzlies in which they failed to cover the six-point spread, though that can be put down to Donovan Mitchell being out due to personal reasons.

Mitchell’s status is still up in the air for this one, so it’ll definitely be worth monitoring and could swing where the value is.

In his place, Utah has been looking to the experienced Mike Conley more on offense, though it’s also meant Jordan Clarkson — who’s been looking a lot more like himself lately and not the guy who couldn’t miss a jumper to start the year — gets more shots. That’s great for Clarkson, but not folks trying to win money laying points with Utah.

The one thing we know about the previous matchup between these two teams, as we touched on earlier, is that it was won and lost at the 3-point line. Utah’s defense on the perimeter has been exceptional all season, allowing just 34.6% shooting from deep. That hasn’t changed during this winning streak. During their seven-game run, the Jazz are allowing 3-pointers to fall at the lowest rate of any team in the league at 30.5%.

Bulls-Jazz Pick

We pit a cold-shooting team against a red-hot defense in a contest of who will blink first. Judging by how the season has gone, it’s hard to see it being the Jazz, who have locked down the perimeter better than just about anyone in the league.

The matchup here with Vučević against Rudy Gobert will be an interesting one. The Jazz are actually allowing the third-most points per play on post-ups at 1.03, according to Synergy, while no team has run more post-ups per game than the Bulls since acquiring Vučević with a whopping 19.3 per game.

Even if Chicago is successful down low, however, we learned in late March that won’t necessarily mean a win against the Jazz. In fact, it didn’t even bring the Bulls close.

Utah’s offensive efficiency took a hit without Mitchell, dropping to 109.9 points per 100 possessions, but that’s not necessarily all that bad. I’m slightly concerned about its ability to score here if he doesn’t play, though I do expect him to, so I am going to tentatively lay the points here with Utah. It doesn’t hurt that the Jazz are 16-5 ATS as the home favorite.

Pick: Jazz -12.5 (-110)

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