Los Angeles Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls Preview and Pick

Los Angeles Lakers (14-9) at Chicago Bulls (8-13), 8:30 pm Eastern Tuesday, NBA
by Zman of Predictem.com

A streaking Los Angeles Lakers team hits the road for a four-game swing through the Eastern Conference, beginning with a visit to Chicago and a bout with the Bulls Tuesday night.

LA has won five of its last six games after beating the Clippers Sunday night 113-92, and is averaging 112 points over that span. So the Lakers sit in second place in the Pacific Division, just three games back of the first-place Phoenix Suns.

On the other side of this match-up, after losing 10 of its first 12 games this season, Chicago has won six of its last nine, and in its last outing beat the New York Knicks 101-96 Friday night. But the Bulls are still in last place in the Central Division, 7 games back of the first-place Detroit Pistons.

NBA betting boards list Chicago as a two-point home favorite for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 202. Also, the Bulls are listed at anywhere from -125 to -155 on various moneylines, with the Lakers getting from +105 to +135 as road underdogs.

These two teams split their two meetings last season, with each winning at home. And LA beat Chicago 106-78 in the teams’ first meeting of this season back on Nov. 18, with the Lakers out-shooting the Bulls from the floor 46% to 35% and out-rebounding them 51-38.

Also, those last three meetings in fact, the last eight meetings between these two teams have stayed under their totals, with those last three games averaging just 174 points per.

LA has been kind to its financial backers so far this season, going 14-9 against the spread, while Chicago is a rather miserable 7-14 vs. the numbers this season. The Lakers are also 5-5 straight up and 6-4 ATS on the road, while the Bulls are 5-5 SU and 4-6 against the spread at home.

LA owns a +5.1 average points-per-game margin, which ranks 4th-best in the league, while Chicago ranks 21st at -3.5 ppg.

The Lakers are shooting 47% from the floor as a team this season, 36% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are shooting just 41% from the field, which ranks dead last in the league, 32% from long range, which ranks 27th, and 76% from the line.

Also, LA ranks 6th in rebounding at +2.5 per game and is holding opponents to 44% FG shooting, while Chicago ranks 7th in rebounding at +2.0 per game and is holding foes to 45% FG shooting.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Lakers 5th at 95.7, the Bulls 23rd at 85.7.

On the injury front, LA forward Kobe Bryant, who ranks second in the league in scoring at 27 ppg, is suffering a bit from a pulled groin, but is expected to play Tuesday night. And on the other side, Chicago F Luol Deng, who’s battling a bad back, is listed as probable.

The o/u is 12-11 in Lakers games this season, which are averaging 209 points per, while the totals are 10-11 in Bulls games, which are averaging 188 points.

Zman’s Pick: Take the Bulls -2.