Pelicans vs. Bulls Odds & Picks: Back Red-Hot New Orleans to Keep Rolling
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson.
- The Bulls host a Pelicans team that spent its Tuesday night beating the Rockets by 29 points.
- Mostly due to injuries, Chicago is relying too heavily on Zach LaVine on the offensive end.
- Matt Trebby explains why he's backing the Pelicans to overwhelm the struggling Bulls.
Pelicans vs. Bulls Odds
|Moneyline||-143 / +123|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Two teams headed in opposite directions are set to meet on Wednesday at the United Center, as the Pelicans travel north after a blowout win on Tuesday night to face the Bulls.
New Orleans is rolling at the moment, especially on offense. Chicago, meanwhile, is relying on its star guard for all of its production.
Sound like one team has a big edge? That’s because the Pelicans do.
New Orleans Pelicans
There were some serious questions being asked about the Pelicans not too long ago, last month to be exact. New Orleans lost eight out of nine games, a stretch that started with a loss to Indiana on Jan. 4 and ended with a deflating 10-point defeat at the paws of the Karl-Anthony Towns-less Timberwolves. The Pelicans covered just twice during that nine-game stretch.
Since then, the Pelicans are 7-2 straight-up and against the spread, heading in the opposite direction of their hosts on Wednesday night.
New Orleans showed no signs of slowing down against Houston, with a 130-101 win that was stamped with a 38-20 edge in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans entered Tuesday night’s game against the Rockets ranked sixth in the NBA over its last seven games with a 118.9 Offensive Rating, according to NBA Advanced Stats. The 114.8 Defensive Rating could use some work, but the Pelicans have been showing some serious offensive potential of late.
The Pels have four players averaging double-digit points during this stretch, led by their two young star forwards: Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.
Ingram entered Tuesday night averaging 25.0 points over the Pelicans’ last seven games, while Williamson was at 24.4 while shooting an absurd 63.4% from the field.
The duo has been boosted by strong play from guards Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe, a combination that many doubted would be able to mesh well before the season. Right now, they’re both thriving.
Ball entered Tuesday night shooting 49.1% over his last seven games from beyond the arc. While that’s unrealistic for him to continue, it’s a strong showing for a player that is in need of a perimeter game to become one of the NBA’s best guards.
After starting the season as one of the NBA’s best teams against the spread, the Bulls have covered just twice in their last eight games and once in their last four. Chicago is also 2-6 straight-up during that span. This comes after a January run that saw the Bulls go 8-1 against the spread during one nine-game stretch.
So what has happened to the Bulls over their last eight games?
The issue appears to lie on the offensive end. Chicago’s Defensive Rating, according to NBA Advanced Stats, over its last eight games is 110.0, which is 10th in the NBA. The Bulls’ Offensive Rating ranks 22nd during that span at 109.1, putting their Net Rating at -0.9, which is 20th.
The one constant this season for Chicago has been an All-Star-level season from Zach LaVine. In the Bulls’ last eight games, LaVine is averaging 27.8 points on 51.5% shooting from the field and 44.6% from beyond the arc.
The problem? Chicago’s second-leading scorer, Lauri Markkanen, has missed the Bulls’ last two games and will be out at least the next couple weeks due to a shoulder injury. The sharp-shooting Finnish forward was averaging 18.8 points over his last six games before getting hurt, and Otto Porter Jr. has also missed the last four games due to a back injury and is “shut down for the time being,” according to Billy Donovan.
That leaves Coby White, Thaddeus Young and Patrick Williams as Chicago’s next-leading scorers during this stretch, which is less than ideal.
There are two things that the Bulls have going for it entering this matchup.
- The Pelicans played on Tuesday night.
- It’s bitterly cold in Chicago, so maybe that will cool the New Orleans offense down.
So yes, we’re going to back the Pelicans.
This is just the second time this season the Pelicans have played on back-to-back nights. The first time it happened, they won in Indiana before heading home to beat Memphis.
They have young legs and are playing well. There’s no reason they shouldn’t comfortably win this game.
Pick: Pelicans -3 (up to -5.5)