Usually when a team is in leg two of a back-to-back they are at a huge disadvantage. That’s the spot the Bulls find themselves in for the March 18th NBA free pick but Chicago may actually benefit off their own putrid performance. Sunday’s loss to the Kings got out of hand quickly so for many Chicago players it was nothing more than a glorified practice and they should be fresh today. That being said, is Phoenix (-1.5) still the play from Talking Stick Resort Arena?
Bulls Defense In an Especially Deep Rut
By no means did Chicago have a clamp down defense at any point this season but they still rank a respectable 20th in points allowed per game. That has changed recently however as Chicago has been getting rolled for 120+ in each of the past four games. The Bulls have been especially bad in the 3rd quarter recently allowing 42, 43, 45, and 43 points in that frame over the past four games. As expected, four straight Chicago games have gone ‘over’ and Monday’s total is listed at 227.
One of the Bulls’ main positives ahead of the March 18th NBA free pick is that they should be relatively fresh after being dominated from the get-go by Sacramento on Sunday. Zach Lavine played 29 minutes but may be on a restriction due to recent knee issues. Lauri Markkanen played only 22 minutes and continues to struggle with three straight games under 12 points scored. Otto Porter, Jr. also went for just 8 points vs. the Kings, one of the fastest paced teams in the league.
Suns Look to Cobble Together a Victory
The line of Phoenix -1.5 is kind of a head scratcher, especially considering it opened at -3, 70% of the public likes the Suns, and the line moved in the opposite direction. Phoenix has actually played better lately too, winning 6 of their last 10 games. That winning streak has brought the Suns up to 17 wins on the season and Chicago is just 2 ahead of that total. Would the Bulls prefer a loss to improve their lottery odds? The Bulls have lost 5 in a row so it would appear that way.
One of the reasons the Suns aren’t favored by more in the March 18th NBA free pick is because they are very banged up. Kelly Oubre, Jr., Richaun Holmes, and Tyler Johnson will all likely miss Monday’s game, joining TJ Warren on the bench. Devin Booker is still in the lineup however and he went for 40 Saturday vs. the Pelicans. Can Deandre Ayton have a solid game down low vs. a fatigued Robin Lopez?
March 18th NBA Free Pick Betting
This game sure feels like a trap as it would be no stretch to see a streaking Suns team beat a tired Bulls squad by 10 points or more. Therefore it’s wise to stay away from the sides on Monday. Chicago cannot win in a shootout, but they may find their defense against a Suns team that is a bit thin. Chicago should be fresh enough to limit the Suns to under 110.
NBA Free Pick: Bulls / Suns *Under* 227