The Chicago Bulls have the third worst record in the Eastern Conference and the fourth worst in the NBA. They’re not playing as poorly as the moribund New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks but otherwise might be the worst team in the league at the moment. They’ve been particularly bad at home where they’re a brutal 9-27 SU on the year. Given the storied history of the United Center which at one points was one of the nastiest home venues in the NBA that’s hard to believe. Then again, it’s a lot easier to have a strong home court with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin and Dennis Rodman in the lineup. The Bulls have been no great shakes on the road either at 12-25. They’re also 3-13 SU against divisional rivals.
Somehow the Bulls have managed to string together a two game winning streak and in this matchup that’s going to work against them as they catch the Utah Jazz off of a loss. Chicago is 5-15 SU/7-13 ATS after a straight up win but they’re stepping up significantly in class here than their previous two opponents (Phoenix and Washington). The Utah Jazz have been trying to improve their playoff positioning which has been tough since most of the teams they’re competing with have been playing well including the LA Clippers (9-1 L10) and the San Antonio Spurs (8-2 L10). The Jazz were on a five game SU/ATS winning streak before they came out flat in a second of back to back spot at Atlanta on Thursday losing 117-114 as -7.5 road favorites. Utah has been solid bouncing back after a loss going 18-11 SU/19-9-1 ATS.
Bulls have not only been awful at home SU they’ve been horrible against the spread going 14-22 versus the number. They’re 7-24 SU/13-18 ATS as a home underdog. Jazz have a positive record as a road favorite both SU (14-8) and ATS (13-9) which is a good sign as it is characteristic of a team that takes care of business against overmatched opponents. Bulls have covered 5 of the last 6 meetings head to head but the only matchup this year was a 8 points loss as a +11.5 underdog in Salt Lake City in mid January. Not exactly a ‘buy’ sign.
Bulls’ leading scorer Zach LaVine has been injured though there is conflicting information on his status for tonight. He’s officially listed as ‘questionable’ though he did practice yesterday. One source says he’s not going to play, another says he’s a game time decision. He missed Wednesday’s game against Washington with a deep thigh bruise. Point guard Kris Dunn missed Friday’s practice with a back strain and he’s listed as questionable. Otto Porter, Jr. is listed as ‘doubtful’–he’s missed the preivous two games. Utah’s only significant injury is Dante Exum who is out for the year with a partially torn patella tendon. He’s been out for most of the year with injuries.