Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls Pick
Philadelphia 76ers (41- 23 SU, 31-33 ATS) vs. Chicago Bulls (18-47 SU, 29-35-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: United Center – Chicago, IL
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PHI -5.5 / CHI +5.5
Power Rankings: Chicago +5
Takeaways from Philadelphia and Chicago’s Most Recent Games
The 76ers come in off a home win last night in the City of Brotherly Love when they hosted the Orlando Magic and came away with a 114-106 victory. As a four-point favorite, the Bulls were able to secure their third straight cover while also improving to 3-1 SU in their last four games.
The Bulls step into this contest on the heels of a two-game losing streak. Most recently, the Bulls were defeated on the road last night in Indianapolis by their divisional rival, the Indiana Pacers. Closing as a 6.5-point underdog, the Bulls could not come in under the number as they were defeated 105-96 by their opponents. Chicago’s failure to cover has now also extended to two games.
How the Public is Betting the Philadelphia and Chicago Game
At the moment, 73% of the consensus like the 76ers laying the points. The Sixers opened as a 5.5-point favorite but Chicago received the early action as the line dropped by half of a point to the Sixers spotting five points. Thanks to the heavy public lean, the line has once again moved upward by half of a point to bring the market back to its original opening position of Philadelphia as a 5.5-point favorite.
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Philadelphia comes into this contest riding a three-game winning streak against Chicago. The two teams last met in October where the Sixers hosted the Bulls in Philadelphia. As a 12-point favorite, the Sixers went to work on the Bulls and secured a cover while doing so, defeating Chicago by a score of 127-108.
All-Star Philadelphia Center Joel Embiid remains out for his seventh straight game as he continues to recover from a knee injury. The Sixers have turned to veteran Amir Johnson to fill in at Center in his absence. In his last game for Philadelphia, Johnson produced 13 points, two assists, and five rebounds against Orlando last night. While it is hard to replace a 27.3 point per game producer in Embiid, the Sixers have gone 4-2 SU in his absence.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
For Philadelphia this will be a back-to-back as they kick off a two-game road trip that culminates in Houston on Friday. In back-to-backs this season, the Sixers are 3-6 both straight up and against the spread. The Bulls also enter into this game in a back-to-back as they kick off a two-game home stand. On the year, Chicago is 2-7 SU in back-to-backs but they are more profitable against the spread as they are 4-5 ATS in these same games.
Can Philadelphia Use Its Offensive Acumen To Rout The Bulls?
When it boils down to offensive play, the Sixers have an enormous edge in that department. Philadelphia owns one of the better scoring offenses in the league averaging 115.5 points per game (4th in the NBA). Contrarily, Chicago finds itself as one of the worst in the NBA in scoring offense as they produce just 104.9 points per game (28th in the league). This results in a huge 10.6-point differential. In addition to this decisive advantage, the Sixers are also a stalwart in the rebounding department. Philadelphia is a top-five team in the NBA in total rebounds per game (47.0 total boards per contest) and opponent total rebounds per game (43.4 total rebounds against). Once again, Chicago finds itself among the lower echelons in the NBA in this facet as well. Chicago generates a 26th-ranked 42.6 total rebounds per game while opponents produce a 25th-ranked 46.5 total rebounds per contest against the Bulls. Should Philadelphia hone these advantages, the Sixers can find themselves bullying Chicago on the boards while also potentially outscoring the Bulls significantly.
Can Free Throw Proficiency and Turnovers Help Chicago Stage The Upset?
In the tale of the tape, the Bulls will find themselves at several disadvantages. Fortunately for Chicago, committing turnovers is not one of them as they own an edge in that department. This can be a very dangerous practice for Philadelphia as it will only give more life to a basketball team that will playing this game with nothing to lose. In addition, Chicago is proficient in free throw shooting as they seventh in the NBA in free throw percentage (79.3%). On the flipside, the Sixers sit 14th in the league in free throw percentage at 77.4%. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Chicago opponents hit 76.7% of their attempts from the free throw line (14th in the NBA). For Philadelphia, the Sixers are one of the worst in the league in opponent free throw percentage as their opposition hits a friendly 77.7% of their free throw attempts (24th in the league). Should Chicago take full advantage of this edge they can scoff up a few critical points that could result in them coming in under the number or perhaps maybe even put them in position to stage an upset should this game be as close as the market forecasts.
There is one prevalent trend worth highlighting for Over/Under plays. In the last 15 meetings between these two teams, the Over has gone 12-3 ATS.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Philadelphia -5.5
The Sixers look every much capable of going to the NBA Finals this year after they looked impressive against Golden State on Saturday despite coming up short in a heart-breaking three-point loss. Betting websites have steadily decreased the payout odds on Philly to win it all. Despite this bitter result, the Sixers responded well and did not come in flat in their follow up against Orlando. It is for this reason, I cannot see the Sixers suffering any let-down here and taking the Bulls lightly by any stretch. The Sixers are the superior team and they will be sure to make the Bulls aware of that. Reiterating their advantages in this game, Philadelphia will push Chicago around on the boards, wear them down, and light up the scoreboard. I could see Philly winning this game by more than 20 points, fortunately we are only asked to lay 5.5 points.