The Charlotte Hornets visit the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Thursday night in an all-important battle for teams trying to move up in the team standings.
Charlotte is currently 8th in the East and would qualify for the play-in tournament if the regular season ended today. But the Hornets can still catch up with the Knicks at 6th and make the playoffs outright. Meanwhile, the Bulls are only one game behind 10th place Washington. If they can catch the Wizards, the Bulls will have a shot at the postseason via the play-in tournament.
This is the second meeting between these teams this season. Chicago defeated Charlotte at the Hive last January 22, 2021, via a score of 123-110.
Charlotte heads to Chicago after losing to the New York Knicks on Tuesday. The Hornets have dropped five out of their last six games to fall to 28-29 on the season. They are currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference and are just 2.5 games behind 6th place and an outright entry to the playoffs.
In their last game, the Hornets led the Knicks by six in the first half then went ice cold in the second half. Charlotte shot just 13-40 from the field and 3-20 from deep in the second half to fall 109-97. P.J. Washington had a big game with 26 points off the bench while Terry Rozier added 21. Miles Bridges added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Hornets who scored only 31 points in the second half after putting up 33 each in the first and second quarters.
The Hornets rank 22nd in the league in scoring at 110.0 points per game. They have the 20th ranked defense in the NBA at 112.7 points per game allowed. Charlotte is 19th overall in rebounding at 43.8 boards grabbed per contest and they are 17th in passing at 26.7 assists per game.
Odds from BetOnline as of 04/21/2021
The Chicago Bulls 24-34 on the season and they have the 12th best record in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is just one game behind Washington for 10th place and the final spot in the play-in tournament. The Bulls have dropped six out of their last six games and head home with a two-game home losing streak.
Chicago has been incredibly inconsistent this season. Last Monday, they snapped the Boston Celtics’ six-game winning streak but two days later, they were blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-105 in Ohio. Lauri Markkanen scored 16 points off the bench while Colby White was the only starter in double digits with 14. Nikola Vucevic only had 9 points on 4-12 shooting. Zach LaVine missed his fourth straight game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Bulls are the 18th ranked scoring team in the league at 112.0 points per game scored this season. They are 12th in rebounding at 44.5 boards pulled down per contest and are also 6th in passing at 26.8 assists per game. Chicago is also 6th in the league in passing at 26.8 assists per game and they have the 7th worst scoring defense in the NBA.
Charlotte is 4-6 SU in their last 10 games played. The Hornets are 3-3 SU in their last six games played on the road, and 6-10 SU in their last 16 road games against the Eastern Conference. Chicago is 5-5 SU in their last 10 games played. The Bulls are 2-2 SU in their last four games played at home, and 5-9 SU in their last 14 home games against the Eastern Conference. Head to head, the Hornets are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played against the Bulls. Charlotte has also won their last two head-to-head meetings in Chicago.
The Hornets snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Blazers on Sunday. But they could not sustain the momentum and were beaten by the Knicks on Tuesday night. Charlotte is still without Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball.
Chicago has lost six out of their last eight games and will be without leading scorer Zach LaVine who is out due to health and safety protocols. Nikola Vucevic will need to step up. Vuc scored only 9 points in their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s hard to put your trust in both teams right now. I know the Bulls are at home but they’ve never been a standout at the United Center this season. I expect Vucevic to bounce back with a strong game. I also expect Rozier to have a better shooting game. I think this will be a close game. And I’ll take whatever plus money you can give me on either team. That said, I’m picking the Hornets to pull off the upset here.
Prediction: Charlotte Hornets
Other Bets to Make
Charlotte is 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Hornets are 16-15 ATS in their 31 road games played this season, and 8-8 ATS in 16 road games against their Eastern Conference rivals. Chicago is 11-17-1 ATS in 29 home games played this season. The Bulls are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 home games against the East, and 5-5 ATS in their last five games played overall. Head to head, the Hornets are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games played against the Bulls.
Odds from BetOnline as of 04/22/2021
These two teams are struggling to pick up wins right now. Charlotte is pretty much banged up and is at least without their two best players in Hayward and Ball. However, the Bulls have won just twice in their last eight games and are playing the second of a back-to-back schedule here. With Zach LaVine still out due to health and safety protocols, the Bulls are in a tough spot and right now they’re not worth risking three extra points for. Sure, either team can win this but with Chicago’s current form, I don’t trust them with minus points.
Prediction: Hornets +3
The total has gone under in seven out of the last 10 games played by the Hornets. The under is 17-13 in Charlotte’s 30 games against the Eastern Conference this season. The total has gone under in two out of the last three games played by the Bulls. The under is 11-3 in Chicago’s 14 home games against the Eastern Conference, and 16-13 in their 29 total home games played this season. Head to head, the total has gone under in two out of the last three meetings between these two teams.
Odds from BetOnline as of 04/22/2021
These teams have two of the poorest defenses in the league. However, I don’t expect this to be a high-scoring game because both teams are missing their best players and both of them rank in the bottom half of the league when it comes to scoring points. Charlotte has scored 101 or fewer points in four out of their last six games. Chicago has not scored more than 106 points in four out of their last five games played. Without the likes of Hayward, Ball, and LaVine on both sides, the total should fall short.
Prediction: Under 211.5