Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Orlando Magic (24-8 17-13-2 ATS) vs. Chicago Bulls (13-17 11-16-3 ATS) United Center, Chicago, IL 8 PM EST Saturday January 2, 2010 on WGNAmerica
by Jason Green at Predictem.com

Point Spread: Magic -3 / Bulls +3
Over/Under: 193

Tonight in an Eastern Conference match up between two teams that are playing well the Chicago Bulls host the Orlando Magic. The Bulls have won 3 in a row, are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and are 2nd place in the Central Division. The Magic have won 2 in a row, are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and lead the Southeast Division by 3 games over the struggling Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic were beat by Boston on Christmas Day and since then head coach Stan Van Gundy tinkered with the lineup making Orlando more of a running team. Even though Dwight Howard’s scoring is down the Magic are winning. They will not have to score a ton tonight since the Bulls are averaging the 3rd fewest points per game in the league,

The Bulls’ 3-game winning streak has come against teams that are below .500. They are only 3-11 against teams that have winning records this season.

This season the 10-6 at home and the Magic are 11-5 on the road.

In their last game the Magic beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-94 last night. The high scorer for the game was Rashard Lewis going for 21 points on 7/12 shooting. For the game the Magic shot 36/80 for a FG% of 45%. On defense the Magic held the T-Wolves to 37/86 shooting for a FG% of 43%.

The Bulls beat the floundering Detroit Pistons 98-87 on New Year’s Eve. The high scorer for the bulls in that game was Derrick Rose going for 22 points on 7/18 shooting. For the game the Bulls shot 33/69 for a FG% of 47.8%. On defense the Bulls played well only allowing the Pistons to shoot 34/88 for a weak FG% of 38.6%.

This season the Magic rank 10th in scoring (101.9 ppg) while the Bulls only rank 27th (91.7 ppg). On defense the Magic rank 5th in points allowed (95.7 ppg) and the Bulls rank a respectable 11th (97.3 ppg). Both of these two teams are solid on the boards, as the Magic have a rebounding differential of +2.8 rpg and the Bulls are at +2.2 rpg.

Orlando is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a losing record, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5, and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 against teams from the Central Division.

Chicago is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog of 0.5-4.5, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games, and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.

The total has gone Over in 3 of the last 4 games the Bulls have played following a win and the total has gone Under in 6 of the last 7 games for the Magic when they are favored by 0.5-4.5 points.

Even though the Magic have C Joakim Noah (12.5 rpg), who is 2nd in the league in rebounds per game, the #1 guy of Dwight Howard (13.3 rpg) will have a big day. The Bulls do not have a lot of size and Howard presents a match up problem for them.

The Bulls have the athletes to run with the sort-of new look Magic, but they will not be able to stop them from scoring in bunches tonight. Rashard Lewis (15.6 ppg) and Vince Carter (18.9) will both better their season scoring average tonight.

Derrick Rose (18 ppg) will have a big game tonight, as he is the main offensive weapon the Bulls have and he will matched up with Magic PG Jameer Nelson, who is smaller than Rose and will have trouble keeping him from slashing into the lane.

On the injury front PF Rashard Lewis, SF Matt Barnes, and PG Jameer Nelson are all day-to-day for Orlando and SF Luol Deng is day-to-day for Chicago.

Jason’s Pick: Even though the Bulls have won 3 in a row they do not match up well with the Magic. Look for Howard to have another monster game and for the Bulls to struggle on the offensive end of the court. The Magic will win this game and I think they will easily cover the spread.