Blake Daniels, March 31, 2022
The LA Clippers head to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at the United Center.
Los Angeles is clearly locked in the 8th spot in the West as they are 5.5 games behind the 7th seeded Timberwolves but are also four games ahead of the 9th seeded New Orleans Pelicans. With their fate already determined, the Clippers have the luxury of taking their foot off the gas pedal. However, with Paul George recently returning to action, they need these remaining games to sharpen iron and bring PG back smoothly to the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Bulls are still trying to catch a Top 4 seed and at 2.5 games back, it’s still mathematically possible but unlikely because of the number of games left. The important thing now for Chicago is to hold off the 6th seeded Toronto Raptors who have tied them with a 44-32 record. The Bulls own the tiebreaker against Toronto but a loss here would put them down to the sixth spot.
The Bulls won the first meeting between these two teams this season, 100-90, last November 14th at Staples Center.
The LA Clippers are coming off a feel-good win last Tuesday when they erased a 25 point lead to stun the Utah Jazz. Los Angeles fell behind early 32-14 and saw the deficit balloon to 25. But the Clippers scored 39 fourth quarter points to pull off the come from behind win.
Paul George made a triumphant return with 34 points on 10-20 shooting including 6-9 from three-point distance. Reggie Jackson struggled from the field but still finished with 21 points. Luke Kennard had four three-pointers and 17 points and Isaiah Hartenstein added 14 both off the bench to help the Clippers win the game.
The Clippers rank 26th in the NBA in scoring at 106.8 points per game scored this season. Los Angeles is 21st in rebounding at 43.8 boards grabbed per contest and is 20th in passing at 23.6 assists per game. The Clippers are 11th overall in scoring defense at only 108.4 points per game allowed this season.
Moneyline Odds: Clippers +149, Bulls -159
Odds from BetOnline as of 03/31/2022
The Bulls went back and forth with the Washington Wizards for three quarters before a big fourth quarter saw them outscore their opponents 32-21 to win the game and pick up only their 4th win in their last 10 games played. The win enabled the Bulls to keep the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference despite the Toronto Raptors tying them at the standings with a record of 44-32.
DeMar DeRozan scored 14 of his 32 points in the 4th quarter to lead the Bulls. Nikola Vucevic also waxed hot with 27 points to offset an off night from Zach Lavine who only had 14 points on 4-10 shooting. The comebacking Patrick Williams contributed valuably off the bench with 6 points and 7 rebounds while Coby White Added 9 points and 5 assists off the bench for Chicago.
Chicago is the no. 12 ranked scoring team in the NBA at 111.4 points per game this season. The Bulls are 28th in rebounding at just 42.4 boards grabbed per contest. Chicago is 17th in passing at 24.0 assists per game this season and is 15th in scoring defense at 110.9 points per game conceded.
The Clippers are 1-5 SU in their last six games played. L. A is 1-5 SU in their last six games played on the road, 15-13 SU in 28 games against the Eastern Conference, and 7-6 ATS in 13 away games against Eastern Conference teams.
The Bulls are 5-11 SU in their last 16 games played. Chicago is 26-10 SU in 36 home games this season, 15-13 SU in 28 games against the Western Conference, and 11-3 SU in 14 home games against opponents from the West.
Head to head, the Clippers are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games played against the Bulls. Los Angeles is also 9-2 SU in their last 11 games played in Chicago.
The Clippers are suddenly energized with the return of Paul George. PG made a successful return last Tuesday after missing three months with an elbow injury. The 7-time All-Star dropped 34 points in 31 minutes as the Clippers rallied from 25 points down to beat the Utah Jazz. That win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Clippers who are 8th in the Western Conference team standings.
Meanwhile, the Bulls bounced back from a loss to the New York Knicks by walloping the Washington Wizards 107-94 also last Tuesday. DeMar DeRozan reprised his role as the closer with 14 fourth-quarter points. With second-year forward Patrick Williams slowly finding his way back to form after missing nearly five months with a wrist injury, the Bulls look to finish the season strong. Chicago is currently 5th in the East and is trying to hold off the Toronto Raptors who are hot behind their tail.
Both these teams have struggled as of late and are looking to close out strong as they head to the playoffs. The Clippers have George back but the Bulls are healthy too with only Lonzo Ball remaining on their injured list. We know how good this Chicago team can be when healthy and they have been consistently good at home this season. Give me DeRozan and LaVine to lead the Bulls to a big win over the Clippers.
Prediction: Chicago Bulls
Other Bets to Make
The Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games played. Los Angeles is 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games against an opponent with a winning percentage better than .600, 2-6 ATS in their last eight Thursday games, 1-4 ATS in their last five games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game, 1-4 ATS in their last five games as road underdogs, 1-4 ATS in their last five road games against an opponent with a winning home record, 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against an opponent with winning straight up record, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games after scoring 100 or more points in their previous games.
The Bulls are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games played. Chicago is 1-4 ATS in their last five games after an ATS wins, 0-5 ATS in their last five games against the Western Conference, and 1-8 ATS in their last nine games when playing on one day rest.
However, Chicago is 4-1 ATS in their last five games after a road trip of more than seven days, 23-7 ATS in their last 30 games as home favorites, 28-10 AT in their last 38 home games against an opponent with a losing road record, 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 games as betting favorites, 35-17 ATS in their last 52 Thursday games, and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games played at home.
Head to head, the Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five games played against the Clippers.
Spread Odds: Clippers +3.5 (-110), Bulls -3.5 (-110)
Odds from BetOnline as of 03/31/2022
Both these teams have struggled against the spread as of late. But overall, the Bulls are the better ATS team this season at 40-35-1 against the spread. The Clippers meanwhile are just 36-39-1 ATS although they are above the .500 mark as road underdogs at 14-13 ATS.
However, Chicago has been excellent in covering the spread at home as you can see from the betting trends we mentioned earlier. It’s also worth noting that Chicago has covered the betting spread in 8 of 10 home games when they are favorites by 3 to 4 points. Unless this spread line balloons to more than 5 points, I think it’s worth laying the points on a Chicago team that has been solid at home despite its recent struggles.
With scorers like DeRozan, LaVine, and even Vucevic, this is a team that can put points on the board in a hurry, making this 3.5 point spread an easy cover.
Prediction: Bulls -3.5
The total has gone under in eight out of the last 11 road games played by the Clippers, with one push. The under is also 4-0-1 in their last five games when playing on one day rest, 5-1 in their last six games against an opponent with a winning straight up record, 8-2-2 in their last 12 when scoring more than 100 points in their previous game, 6-2 2in their last eight games after a straight-up win, 5-2 in their last seven games after an ATS win, 5-2-1 in their last eight games as road underdogs, and 5-2-1 in their last eight road games against an opponent with a winning home record.
The total has gone under in six out of the last seven games played by the Bulls. The under is 5-0 in their last five home games, 5-0 in their last five games after an ATS win, 6-0 in their last six games after a straight up win, 7-0 in their last seven games as betting favorites, 5-0 in their last five home games, 5-1 in their last six games as home favorites, 7-2 in their last nine games when playing on one day rest, 16-5 in their last 21 games after scoring more than 100 points in their previous game, and 9-4-1 in their last 14 games at home following a road trip of more than seven days.
Over/Under Odds: Over 223 (-110), Under 223 (-110)
Odds from BetOnline as of 03/31/2022
These teams have combined to score just 217.3 points per game in their last 10 head-to-head meetings, including 190 in their first and only meeting this season. Both teams play with a deliberate pace with the Clippers ranking 16tth and the Bulls 18th in that statistical department.
Chicago is 12th in the league in scoring at over 111 points per game but the Clippers aren’t a good dance partner if you want a high-scoring game because they are 5th from last in putting up points this season at just under 107 points per game this campaign. Both these teams are also in the upper half in scoring defense so points should come at a premium here.
The Bulls’ last three games have not hit a total of 220 points while three out of the Clippers’ last five games have not made it to the 223 point total. This one is likely going to go under it as well. Give me these teams to hit the under.
Prediction: Under 223