The Chicago Bulls won 10 of 12 games to wind down the 2017 calendar year which had their fan base legitimately feeling like a possible playoff berth was on the horizon. Luckily for management (who want the Bulls to tank for a higher draft slot) Chicago has returned to the form of a team that lost 10 straight games starting in mid-November. The Bulls have now dropped four straight and are starting to shop players as the NBA trade deadline approaches. Portland can take advantage of this as -7 home favorites in the 1/31 NBA free pick.
It’s a plaid-out tonight at @ModaCenter for the on-court debut of the Dr. Jack Ramsay inspired “City” edition uniforms. Consider attending tonight’s game versus the Bulls in your finest flannel. pic.twitter.com/4pBevbHHJR
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 31, 2018
Chicago Very Depleted for Wednesday Night
The Bulls are even further behind the 8-ball in the 1/31 NBA free pick as Kris Dunn will miss his sixth straight game in the concussion protocol. Chicago has lost four of five in his absence and their 22nd ranked offense is struggling even more without the young point guard. Not only will Dunn miss tonight’s contest, but standout rookie Lauri Markkanen is also out after staying back in Chicago for personal reasons. Add to the fact that Nikola Mirotic is questionable with a leg injury (aka don’t get hurt before we trade you) and the Bulls are going to look very different on Wednesday night.
Tonight’s contest will be a rematch of a New Year’s day tilt that saw Portland get a 124-120 win in Chicago as +3 point underdogs. That game was an example of some possible matchup problems that the ‘Blazers present for the Bulls as CJ McCollum had 32 points, Al-Farouq Aminu 24, and Evan Turner 22. Damian Lillard missed that game with a hamstring issue but Portland was still able to pull out an OT win. The combo of Dunn, Mirotic, and Markkanen accounted for 51 points in that game – but they’ll all be out tonight (although Mirotic is expected to play – but may be limited in minutes).
Can Portland Pull Off the ‘Cover?’
The Trailblazers definitely have the advantage tonight in terms of health, but they’re also the team playing better basketball as of late. The Blazers have won three straight and six of seven overall. The reason the 1/31 NBA free pick line might seem a bit low tonight is because Portland will be playing on consecutive nights after a 104-96. The Bulls on the other hand may be depleted, but they’re also coming into town with two full days of rest.
Portland has put together their winning ways due largely in part to their defense, which is ranked top 10 in the NBA in points allowed and opponents field goal / three point shooting percentage. The Trailblazers have kept five of the last six opponents under 110 points but have also scored less than 110 themselves in four of the last six. The ‘under’ of 213 could be looking nice since Chicago has put up 103 or fewer points in three straight games.
1/31 NBA Free Pick Betting
A season-high for the @trailblazers of 6 games over the
.500 mark after getting the job done in LA. 2nd half of the BTB on Wednesday with the Bulls in town. Remember to “wear plaid” @ModaCenter as the Good Guys go for 8 in a row at home!
— Brian Wheeler (@blazerwheels) January 31, 2018
The Bulls are 4-0 ATS their last four on two days rest and the road team has covered in five straight matchups between the two. If Chicago was at full strength, the Bulls +7 would look like a great wager. A slight 52% of the public still likes Chicago and the points – mostly due to Portland playing in a back-to-back situation. As it stands however, Chicago simply doesn’t have the horses to keep up with the Blazers at home in this game.
Free Pick: Portland Trailblazers -7