Philadelphia has made their way through the rebuilding process posting a 14-14 record thus far in 2017 and climbing within a game of the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Two weeks ago, Chicago (8-20) looked like they were still in demolition mode after losing 15 of 16 games. The squads may be going in different directions however when they face off in the 12/18 NBA free pick.
Out of nowhere, Chicago has won their last five games including victories over Boston and Milwaukee. At the same time, the 76ers have lost five of their last six and will be without big man Joel Embiid for the 12/18 NBA free pick. Embiid is resting his back as Philly has games tomorrow night and Thursday night. Even so, oddsmakers have made the ‘6ers -1.5 road favorites. Is there sound money on the home team tonight?
How Joel Embiid ever going to handle a playoff series? Rest game 5 to ready his body for a game 7 lmao
— bob ding (@bobbyding2345) December 18, 2017
Philly a Bit Banged Up
Not only are the 76ers going to be without Embiid (24.1 points, 11.1 rebounds per game) for the 12/18 NBA free pick, Trevor Booker is also out with an ankle sprain. Booker has averaged 11.5 points and 6.3 rebound since coming over from Brooklyn. Philadelphia’s roster as a whole should be a bit tired. They’ve had two nights off but played a 3OT loss to OKC on Friday night and had an OT win versus Minnesota the game before that. Philly has dropped 7 of their last 10 games but has a decent 7-7 road record this year.
The 76ers will need big nights from Ben Simmons and JJ Redick to get the win in Chicago on Monday night. Simmons has scored more than 20 points in just three of his last eight games but Redick is averaging 23 over his last four. The Bulls defense has been solid lately though, giving up 102, 100, and 85 points in their last three home games.
Are The Bulls Really Good Now?
Chicago’s current five game win streak is a surprise, but it does coincide with the return of Nikola Mirotic from the injured list. Mirotic is averaging 20 points and 6.2 rebounds after missing the first 23 games of the year after teammate Bobby Portis punched him in the face. There appears to be no bad bloom remaining between the two. In fact Portis is playing great including a 27 point, 12 rebound performance last time out against Milwaukee. Chicago is also expected to get rookie Lauri Markkanen (14.7 points, 8 rebounds per game) back after he missed the last three games with back spasms.
Chicago will need to put up some points to get their winning streak to six in the 12/18 NBA free pick. The Bulls are 27th or worse in points/game, field goal shooting, three point percentage, and free throw shooting. That being said Chicago has put up 103+ points in five straight and has limited opponents to less than 103 in three of their last five.
12/18 NBA Free Pick – Betting
The Philadelphia 76ers -1.5 is the 6th most popular bet of the night as gamblers aren’t ready to go in on Chicago in the 12/18 NBA free pick. 67% of the public likes Philly even without Joel Embiid. The Bulls are 6-0 ATS in their last six games and 12-2 ATS their last 14 vs the Eastern Conference. Chicago’s last four games have been three at home and one 2 hours away in Milwaukee. Both teams come in on two days rest, but the Sixers are roughed up a bit. There’s a great chance the Bulls keep that W train rolling tonight – in big fashion.
Pick: Chicago Bulls +105