On paper Chicago would seemingly be mismatched with the combination of Robin Lopez and rookie Lauri Markkanen meeting up with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the front lines. Throw in Jrue Holiday being red hot in the New Orleans backcourt and former Bulls Rajon Rondo and E’Twaun Moore picking it up an extra notch against their old teammates and NO -6.5 seems like a gift. That being said, the Pelicans really don’t blow out teams and the Bulls aren’t horrible lately on the road. The 1/22 NBA free pick may be closer than it seems.
How Do the Bulls Combat Cousins / Davis?
Believe it or not the Chicago defense isn’t bad on the front lines, allowing 21.2 points to opposing power forwards (14th) and 15.8 to centers (21st). Of course Cousins (25.2 ppg, 12.6 rpg) and Davis (26.5, 10.6) aren’t your normal opposing big men. The duo powered New Orleans with a combined 52 points and 27 rebounds in the Hornets 96-90 win in Chicago in November, and will need another big night to get the win at home in the 1/22 NBA free pick.
Unfortunately for Chicago fans the Bulls defense has been a weak spot lately. The Bulls have allowed 110+ in eight of the last 10 games. The weird thing about that is the fact that Chicago has won four of the last five with a 7 point loss to Golden State being the only thing standing between a five game win streak. The Bulls are just 7-16 on the road this season, but they have won four of the last six away from the United Center. What scares Bulls backers tonight is games like the 86-125 loss to Indiana and the 92-117 defeat in Boston in which the team simply didn’t show up.
New Orleans Has a Tendency to Play Close
The Pelicans are a modest 12-9 at the Smoothie King Center and they’ve shown the habit of playing to the level of their opponent. New Orleans has played just six home games in the past month and over that span they have losses to Dallas and New York while winning three other games by 7 points or less – which is basically the 1/22 NBA free pick spread.
The Pelicans have the talent to blow out the Bulls in this contest – it’s just a question of whether they’ll do it or not. Davis has two 45+ point games in his last four and Cousins has 14 or more rebounds in four of his last five. Those aren’t the only threats for New Orleans though. Jrue Holiday has five straight 22+ point games and never underestimate Rondo or Moore against the Chicago lineup.
1/22 NBA Free Pick – Betting
It’s pretty easy to take the Hornets in this contest then sit back and wait for Davis and DeMarcus to do their thing. The truth is, the Bulls are tough on the road this year though:
- Bulls are 10-2 ATS their last 12 road games
- Bulls are 8-2 ATS their last 10 road games vs a team with a winning home record
- Bulls are 13-3 ATS their last 16 on one days rest
- Pelicans are 1-4 ATS their last 5 home games
- Bulls are 12-3-1 ATS their last 16 in New Orleans
Chicago is playing good basketball lately and although they lack a bit in talent, they do have depth on the Pelicans. With New Orleans having the tendency to play close games – the points are the play in tonight’s game.
Pick: Chicago Bulls +6.5