Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic – NBA, February 5, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 5, 2021 2:50 am PDT

These two Eastern Conference teams find themselves towards the bottom of the standings, having won eight games each this season. However, if they put a run of two or three wins together, they could find themselves moving into the playoff places.

The Magic edge the recent head-to-head record, winning three and losing two of the last five games. Although they haven’t met since 2019 and a lot has changed since then. Oddly it’s the Bulls that have come out on top in the previous five meetings in Orlando, winning three and the Magic winning two.

Having not played each other for some time, it will possibly feel strange playing back-to-back games over the next two nights against each other. The last time the Bulls played back-to-back games was against the Knicks, and they won the first game but lost the second. The Magic’s previous back-to-back games came against the Hornets, where they lost the first game and won the second. Will history repeat itself?

The thing that catches my eye when I analyze the previous ten games between them is how low their average combined total is, which stands at 193! The Bulls are averaging seven more points per game, mainly down to the Magics poor shooting (41%).

Here is my Bulls vs. Magic betting preview.

Bulls vs. Magic Odds

Bulls (-2.5) -110
Magic (+2.5) -110
Bulls To Win -126
Magic To Win +110
Over 221.5 Points -110
Under 221.5 Points -110

Most of the early money has come for the Bulls as this matchup started as a straight ‘pick em’ game. It’s clear for all to see that given the meager combined average of these two teams head-to-head matches, that the spread looks way too big. However, as previously mentioned, their last matchup was back in 2019, so air on the side of caution and read the rest of this preview before diving in.

The Magic have only won twice from the 13 games that they entered as the underdogs.

Bulls Analysis

The Bulls are on a poor run and have won only one of their previous five games. Although if you break those five games down and focus on the last three, their form has improved slightly. As in those three games, they lost to the Trail Blazers by a single point, beat the Knicks, and then lost to them by four points last time out. That game was a very topsy-turvy game that swung both ways, with each team dominating two-quarters of it. The Knicks ran out eventual winners 103-107, gaining revenge for their loss to days earlier.

After their recent lousy form at home, the Bulls will welcome returning to the road where they have a split 5-5 record from their ten games. They have won two of their previous five road trips, but that doesn’t perhaps tell the complete story of things and indeed sells them short. They lost by two to the Lakers and then three to the Clippers the very next night. Then they traveled to Oklahoma to face the Thunder and narrowly lost after overtime. Most recently, they beat both the Mavericks and the Hornets comfortably, so their form has been better than it might suggest.

Here are the latest betting trends for Chicago:

Against The Spread
  • They have won only won one of their last five games.
  • On the road, the Bulls have won six of their previous seven matches.
  • Chicago is 4-1 in their last five games against teams from the Southeast Division.

This highlights how much better their form has been on the road this season.

Points Total
  • Four of their last five games have gone under the betting total.
  • This trend has continued on the road in Orlando, as seven of the previous eight games between them have gone under the Points total.

Everything is pointing towards under the points total, but is it too obvious?

Other Pointers
  • The Bulls have only won six of their last 20 games against teams based in the Eastern Conference.

This is self-explanatory.

Although their games have been low scoring as of late, the Bulls have a great offense this season. If they could improve their offensive rebounding, I am sure it would be among the top five in the league.

And it’s been more deadly on the road as they average four more points per game and their field goal percentage rises to a little under 50%.

It is a wonder why they are losing so many games this season with such a great offense. My view is that they play very naive and don’t manage their games very well. Sometimes they need to slow things down and control their games. This is evident when you see how many turnovers they are making per game, which is, in fact, the highest average in the league.

Their defense is the problem as they are shipping too many points each night. They don’t seem to mark up very well or have any formation. Strangely their defensive rebounding has been good and the best part of their defense.

If they can get themselves set on their opponents plays better, it would make them much harder to break down and would also likely improve upon their average of only three blocks per game as they certainly have the ability, see below.

The Bulls have two players out for this game, and they are Porter Junior and Carter Junior, who are both suffering from injuries.

Magic Analysis

The Magic have also won one of their previous five games, but unlike the Bulls, there isn’t much encouragement to take from their performances recently. After beating the Hornets, they have gone onto lose their next four matches by margins of 14, 26, 13, and 15.

They have a poor record in Orlando and have won just four of their 11 games played at the Amway Center. They have lost their last three straight, and the signs are things aren’t going to change anytime soon.

Here are the latest betting trends for Orlando:

Against The Spread
  • The Magic have only one won of their last six games.
  • They have the very same record in their previous six home games.
  • Orlando is 4-1 in their last five games played in February.

This highlights their struggles of late, but there is some hope looking at their record in February last year.

Points Total
  • Four of their last five games have gone over the betting total.
  • Astonishingly a whopping 15 of their last 16 games against the Magic has gone under the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five games against Central Division teams has gone over the points total.

Again, this cements the fact that the games between these two teams have been very low scoring.

Other Pointers
  • Orlando is 2-12 in their last 14 games this season.
  • They have only won one of their previous nine games against teams in the East.

This shows just how tough a challenge the Magic have to get themselves out of this rut.

The Magic have a terrible offense this season, which is averaging only 104 points per game. And it is no wonder when you see that they are shooting at just 42%, which is the precise percentage they have scored against the Bulls recently. Their shooting from deep hasn’t been much better either, which is odd as they are getting plenty of practice having been so far behind in games recently.

They rebound very well offensively, but some of their shooting has been so wayward this season that they would struggle to rebound some of the shots if they had an extra player on the court!

Orlando hasn’t passed the ball well this season either, which is reflected in their low number of assists made.

Their defense has been much better and has been the only reason they have won any games over the last couple of months. They are trying to play a pressing game, but they aren’t quite getting the balance right.

Like the Bulls, they haven’t blocked well either this season, so this is one area that could be exposed by each team and possibly lead to a few more points.

Their biggest problem defensively is they aren’t aggressive enough and are easily bullied by their opponents.

You have to feel for the Magic slightly as injuries certainly haven’t helped things, and there is no bigger loss for them than Gordon, who is out long term with an ankle injury. They are also missing Aminu, Carter-Williams, Isaac, and Fultz, who all have long term injuries.

Bulls vs. Magic Betting Pick

I’m confident that the Bulls will win this, and I’m sure the points total will be under, but which offers the best value? I will have to sway towards the points total, simply because the Bulls haven’t won much recently.

Pick
  • Under 221.5 Points
    -110

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