Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz – April 2, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 2, 2021 7:04 am PDT

The Bulls are clinging on to the last pre-playoff spot in the east, and with four other teams battling for that final place, they know they must look at every game as an opportunity to open up some daylight, no matter the caliber of opposition.

That caliber doesn’t get any better than the Utah Jazz, who have been the NBA’s best team so far this season. They have opened up a nice lead over Phoenix in the Western Conference, and a win here will further eclipse the Suns.

Utah should be confident of doing that, given they have beaten the Bulls the last four times they have met one another. They crushed them by 25-points when they met two weeks ago in Chicago, so they will have little to fear tonight. They dominated the match from start to finish by winning all four quarters of the game. The Jazz has also won the previous two meetings played in Utah.

In their previous ten meetings, the Jazz has averaged eight more points per game than the Bulls. This has predominantly been down to fast starts as they have averaged five more first-half points also. Their defense has also been vital as they have held the Bulls to an average of only 92 points over those ten games.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Bulls vs. Jazz betting prediction.

Bulls vs. Jazz Odds

Bulls +13.5 -110
Jazz -13.5 -110
Bulls To Win +750
Jazz To Win -900
Over 228.5 Points -110
Under 228.5 Points -110

Although the Jazz smashed the Bulls only two weeks ago, I didn’t expect the spread to be quite so big. I assumed it would be around two or three points less than it is here. The total points look exceptionally high, and I believe this offers the most value. When they met two weeks ago, the total was one point less than tonight, and they failed to reach that target.

The Bulls have an excellent record of 9-3 against the spread on their travels to the west. However, they will find it tough to maintain that record tonight against a team that hasn’t lost at home to an Eastern Conference team all season.

Bulls Analysis

The Bulls are on a terrible run of five straight defeats, so having to travel to face a stream with the best record in the league this season is not what they wanted. This poor run all started with their crushing defeat against tonight’s opponents. However, they must look at this game as a free shot as nobody will be expecting them to win, and therefore there will be no pressure on them.

Despite their poor form, they still have a respectable record on the road this season of ten wins and 11 defeats from 21 matches. However, they have lost their last three in a row, which all came at the hands of Western Conference opposition.

Here are the latest betting trends for Chicago:

  • They have lost four of their last five games against the spread.
  • Eight of their previous 11 matches have gone under the betting total.
  • The Bulls have only won two of their last six games against the spread when facing the Jazz.
  • Chicago has only won on one of their previous six visits to Utah.
  • Only two of their last 11 trips to Utah have failed to go under the points total.
  • The Bulls are 2-4 against the spread in their previous six games against Western Conference opposition.
  • Five of their last seven matches against teams based in the Northwest Division have gone over the betting total.

The above data points to a tough night for the Bulls, and they could suffer a heavy defeat.

The Bulls have a good offense this season that has shown very little in the way of weaknesses. They have attacked better on the road this season, and their average of 116 points per game is the third highest in the league, so perhaps there is hope for them after all.

Their most extensive floor in attack appears to be all in the mind as they don’t seem to know when to reign things in. They want to continue to play an attractive basketball style, even when some of the plays are not on. This has resulted in them making the most turnovers in the league this season. This is particularly a problem, given they aren’t making many steals per game either.

However, their defense has struggled, and their high-pressing game hasn’t worked as they allow their opponents to score against them 47% of the time from field goal range.

The acquisition of Nikola Vuceciv was supposed to be a statement of intent, and the Bulls we’re hoping to build a team around him and LaVine. However, their form has deteriorated, and this could be down to unrest within the ranks.

First of all, Lauri Markkanen took to Twitter to vent his disappointment at being dropped down to the bench, and then Vucevic requested to wear one of his new teammate’s jersey number. On the outside, this didn’t seem to be a problem, but you can tell from the players’ body language that something doesn’t appear to be right.

The Bulls will miss Temple, who is suffering from an ankle injury, while there are fitness doubts about LaVine and White.

Jazz Analysis

The Jazz continues to go from strength the strength this season, and they have put a run of seven consecutive wins together. This includes beating the team ranked number one in the east, the Brooklyn Nets, by a whopping 30-points. This was sweet revenge for their 34-point loss at the hands of the Nets earlier on in the year.

Unsurprisingly they have the best home record in the west as they have only suffered two defeats from 22 games all season long. This was their first two home fixtures of the season, and they have since gone on a majestic run of 20 victories in a row. With the exception of two teams, the Clippers and the Grizzlies, no other teams have got to within a single-digit defeat, which shows how formidable they are at home this season.

Here are the latest betting trends for Utah:

  • The Jazz has won four and lost two of their previous six games against the spread.
  • Five of their last seven matches have gone under the betting total.
  • The total has gone under in 13 of their previous 16 games against Chicago.
  • Only one of their last six games against teams from the east coast has failed to go under the betting total.
  • Utah is 7-0-1 against the spread in their previous eight matches against teams from the Central Division.
  • They have been unable to win any of their last five games against the spread that has taken place on a Friday.

All signs point towards a low-scoring game, and it would appear that Chicago’s only hope of not suffering a heavy defeat tonight is the fact that the game is being played on a Friday!

Despite having a pretty average field goal percentage, the Jazz has one of the best attacks in the league season. However, they ranked second in the league from the three-point range, so their shooting ability is certainly not a concern, especially as they have one of the highest offensive rebounding averages.

It’s no surprise to see that their defense has followed suit and is amongst the top five in the NBA. They work meticulously hard to close down their opponents, which is reflected in the low field goal and three-pointer success rates against them.

They also have the best rebounding unit to rely upon in the league this season which can get them out of trouble should their shooting be off on the odd occasion. This is largely down to their fabulous Frechman, Rudy Gobert, who is showing fans why he is the favorite to be named defensive player of the year for the third time.

They have the number one ranked defense in the league and only concede on average 103 points per game.

Utah has a very low steals average which is an area they can improve upon. However, I believe this is down to them usually having more possession of the ball.

Morgan will miss tonight’s action with a calf strain, while Azubuike misses out with an ankle injury. It remains to be seen if Mitchell will also feature as he has been given leave for personal reasons.

Bulls vs. Jazz Betting Pick

Pick
  • Under 228.5 Points
    -110

Given how the Bulls appear to be disjointed at present and the Jazz appears unbeatable at home, I believe Utah will likely cover the handicap tonight. However, I think there is more value in picking under the betting total as I am convinced this will undoubtedly be the case.

They have combined for a total of only 192 points in their previous ten meetings. You have to go back to 2010 to find the last time these two teams produced more than 228 points in a match against each other.

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