Eastern Conference leaders Chicago Bulls host the Washington Wizards tonight. They have won eight in a row and will be looking to keep that going against a struggling Wizards team. Washington has a .500 record on the season after a strong start. The Bulls have a big rest advantage here so let’s break this game down to see if we can cash again with our NBA picks.
Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls
Friday, January 07, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at United Center
Bulls Are the Real Deal
The fact that the Bulls have been so successful lately despite missing players due to a combination of health and safety protocols and injury is pretty remarkable. Nothing has been able to stop Chicago lately and they currently hold first place in the east with a 1.5 game lead over Brooklyn.
Tonight they host the Washington Wizards as 6.5-point home favorites at the NBA odds. I don't usually like to lay over 6 points in any game but I do feel a bit more comfortable in this spot.
Chicago has a big rest advantage, having not played since Monday. The Bulls are 3-0 on the season with three or more days of rest so I really like this spot for them. They've won eight in a row and are playing some of the best basketball in the league at both ends of the court.
In Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, they have two legitimate stars who are capable of taking over a game at any time. DeRozan in particular has been sensational, particularly with his back-to-back game-winners which is a big reason for their winning streak.
Wizards Won't Improve Without Defense
Through the first thirteen games in the season, the Wizards were 10-3 and were looking like a totally different team. At the time, they were the 5th best defense in the league. Even through twenty games, they were 13-7 and were a top ten defense in the league.
The reason they've gone 6-12 since then is that their defense has fallen off a cliff. Unless they manage to turn things around and get closer to a top ten defense instead of what they are now which is 23rd, they will not get back into the playoffs.
One thing I do know is that they won't get it done with their offense which is not bad at 18th in the league but if you're paying attention, it continues to get worse. The big problem for them is their lack of three-point shooting. While the Bulls are only 26th in terms of made threes, their 1st overall in three-point percentage. The Wizards on the other hand don't make a lot of threes because they can't make them on a consistent basis.
My official play at the top-rated sportsbooks for this game is Bulls -6.5 (-110) because of the difference between the two at the moment. The big rest advantage makes me more confident that the Bulls will come out here and take care of business against an inferior opponent. These teams are on different ends of the spectrum in the Eastern Conference and I think we see more evidence of that tonight with the Bulls winning here by margin.
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