I am in a free fall with my NBA picks lately, as the Wizards couldn’t take down the Nets and handed me yet another loss. I’ve still had some success on the year (11-13) but have hit a rut here with some really bad beats lately. Due to that, I can understand if readers want to stray from my picks until I get back on track.
While the road has been bumpy lately, I think Wednesday offers a nice NBA betting slate that should help me get a win.
There are several games to consider on a loaded 9-game slate, but the one I’m eyeing the most goes down at the United Center between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz.
These teams are shockingly headed in opposite directions, as the Bulls have ripped off three wins in a row and Utah has lost three straight. Chicago marched into Charlotte and scored an OT win over the Hornets, while they tacked on two more wins over the Knicks and Celtics.
That three-game run has watched the Bulls double their entire win total on the year and they’ll be looking to build serious momentum tonight when they host the Utah Jazz. The Jazz should get a mild break for their three-game hiccup, as one of their losses came against an elite Rockets team and their other two defeats came on the road against the Thunder and Bucks.
Utah has struggled away from home this year, but they get an inferior opponent and have a chance to right the ship and get back to .500 with a big win. Does that help make the Jazz the play tonight, or should bettors back the Bulls to keep the good times rolling?
Utah Jazz (-4) @ Chicago Bulls (+4) Total: 195.5
A few things are important to note here. For one, the Bulls are getting healthy and with the return of Nikola Mirotic recently, are starting to actually look somewhat dangerous offensively. That’s played into this three-game run, while the Bulls have won two games at the United Center and improved to 4-8 there on the season.
The other thing is Utah (2-9) has been atrocious on the road. They’re embarking on quite the road trip, too, as their previous loss in Milwaukee already kick-started an ugly 6-game road trip. The games beyond this date in Chicago aren’t easy, either. After facing the Bulls, Utah will be taking trips to Boston, Cleveland, Houston and Oklahoma City.
It’s entirely feasible to imagine this being Utah’s only win during this coming stretch. That has me thinking a normally elite defense will be really focused for this game, knowing they need to get back to .500 and that a really nasty stretch is up around the bend.
The two things that could trip bettors up are the fact that Chicago is at home and they’re really feeling good about themselves right now. That’s impossible to deny, but Utah is still the far better team in just about every regard and they can’t afford to lose this game.
The Bulls have impressed recently, but this is still a team that has won 6 games on the season and hasn’t exactly dominated on their home floor. Their recent hot streak should be taken with a grain of salt, too. They beat a banged up Celtics team that was down star point guard Kyrie Irving, they barely edged out a Knicks team that didn’t have Tim Hardaway Jr. and they needed overtime to beat a sinking Hornets team that has lost 7 of their last 10 games.
Forgive me if I’m not a firm believer in the Bulls suddenly being an awesome team.
They have some talent and they’re improving, but Chicago should flex their erratic muscle in a game where they are simply over-matched. Rudy Gobert gets the ball rolling in that regard, as he should be able to dominate the paint defensively in this one, while Utah’s stingy defense (5th in the NBA) could snap back into high gear.
What’s better is Chicago has not been reliable at either end of the court this year. They’re facing a strong defense with the NBA’s 30th-ranked offense in terms of efficiency, while their defense (22nd) hasn’t been much better. Robin Lopez can’t be expected to thrive in the face of Gobert, while fellow bigs Lauri Markkanen (if active), Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis face a tough matchup, as well.
The emergence of rookie scorer Donovan Mitchell makes Utah dangerous as an offense, but what pushes the Jazz over the top for me is the return of a healthy Rodney Hood:
Rodney Hood will play for the Jazz Wednesday against Chicago.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) December 12, 2017
Hood has been missing time with injury, but he provides a big spark as scorer and plus defender. That should strengthen Utah’s offense, while also give their defense a nice lift.
Ultimately, I don’t trust the Bulls to keep this thing going. This is a bad matchup for them in every regard and the only thing that has me remotely hesitating is Utah’s shaky road record. The Jazz are fine ATS (15-12) and road woes aside, this is actually just their second road game where they were favored to begin with. I’m with Vegas on this one and love Utah to get the win.
Normally I’d be a little adventurous and shoot for the Jazz to cover (to get a little more value), but I’m admittedly just looking for a win tonight. I think Utah gets me that and the value isn’t terrible with a -190 Money Line at GTbets.
Perhaps as more lines trickle in you can find even better value in a line somewhere else, too. I do still like Utah to cover here if you’re looking for a little more value, but for me personally, I just want the guaranteed win to end this funk.