Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls – NBA April 22

Hornets at Bulls Betting Predictions | 9:00 PM ET

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Charlotte Hornets +1 (-110) -105 O 210 (-110)
Chicago Bulls -1 (-110) -115 U 210 (-110)

The 28-29 Hornets travel to the United Center to take on the 24-34 Bulls on Thursday night. Charlotte has lost five of its last six games, including a 109-107 loss at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to the surging Knicks. Chicago fell in Cleveland on Wednesday night 121-105 as they were unable to overcome getting outscored 34-12 in the opening quarter.

These two teams last met on Jan. 22 in Charlotte in a game the Bulls won 123-110 behind 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from Zach Lavine.

Charlotte Hornets LogoCharlotte received the good news this week that rookie phenom LaMelo Ball has been cleared for basketball activity and may be able to return late next week. And while that indeed is good news for the long term, the team is still riddled with injuries at the moment. Guard Gordon Hayward had 34 points in the first meeting with Chicago, but will miss this rematch as he is still nursing a right foot sprain. Although Devonte’ Graham was able to return to the lineup against the Knicks, the Hornets will still be without one of their best scorers off the bench in Malik Monk, who is recovering from a right ankle sprain.

The Hornets will have guard Terry Rozier in the lineup and he continues to have a great year, averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting over 40 percent from three-point range. Forward/center P.J. Washington had a big night on Tuesday when he scored 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field, as Coach James Borrego has been turning to him more at center in a small-ball lineup. The 6-foot-7 Washington and Rozier will likely both need to have big nights on Thursday if Charlotte is to have any chance to pull off the small upset while shorthanded. 

Chicago Bulls LogoThe Bulls have been led by All-Star guard Lavine, who is averaging 27.5 points per game. But Chicago will be without him again on Thursday as he is still missing time due to COVID-19 protocols. This puts the scoring pressure on trade deadline acquisition Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging 22.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in his first 17 games as a Bull.

The Hornets are likely to stick with rookie center Vernon Carey Jr. in the starting lineup on Thursday and that could lead to a monster game from Vucevic and another “Welcome to the League” moment for Carey. Also helping to fill the Lavine void has been guard Coby White has started the past four games and has averaged 17 points and 7.3 assists in those contests, well over his season average as a reserve. Chicago will need these two playing at their highest level if they want to get back into the win column. 

This is a huge game for both teams as Charlotte sits in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and the Bulls sit in the 11th spot.

The No. 7-10 seeds earn the right to battle it out in a play-in series to make the playoffs and both teams are currently in the running for that. The Hornets are banged up, but sit only two games back in the loss column from Boston for the No. 6 seed that will be able to avoid the play-in games altogether.

So the motivation will be there from both sides. The biggest advantage Chicago has is Vucevic down low, but Vucevic came over from the Magic, so Charlotte is used to playing him four times a year. Expect Vucevic to have a big night, but the Hornets to not let anyone else beat them just enough to even the season series. Back Charlotte as short road underdogs in what should be a close game that they win in crunch time when Rozier, in particular, has been phenomenal this season.

The Bet
Charlotte Hornets +1

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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