The Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets are both off to good starts in the Eastern Conference this season, occupying the fifth and sixth spots in the East, respectively. Here, they will face off in Chicago, with the winner of this game set to remain ahead of the loser when this contest is in the books. In order to win this Charlotte Hornets vs. Chicago Bulls matchup, one team is going to need to impose their identity on their opponent.
Charlotte plays a more offensive-minded brand of basketball than the Bulls, who prefer to rely on defense and mid-range shots to bend their opponent to their will. With so much on the line for both teams in this game, both sides will have ample motivation to come away with this game. And with minimal injury concerns on both sides, both of these teams should be able to play to their full potential for this crucial contest.
Charlotte Hornets – Hoping For Better Defense
The Charlotte Hornets have been a pleasant surprise from the opening tip of this season, getting off to a 13-9 start and sitting one game back of first place in their division. But they did just have a three-game winning streak snapped on the road by the Houston Rockets in overtime. And that game against the struggling Rockets showcased that the Hornets may still have a long way to go if they cannot improve on the defensive end of the floor.
In that loss to the Rockets, the Hornets allowed Houston to put up 146 points, rendering the Hornets’ total of 143 to be insufficient when all was said and done. This has been a recurring theme for the Hornets this year, as they currently allow 114 points per game, which ranks third-worst in the NBA to this point in the year. Against a potent Bulls offense, they could be in for another rough night on defense.
Expected Line-Up: LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington
with best odds
Chicago Bulls – Struggling As Of Late
The Chicago Bulls have hit a bit of a lull lately, losing three of their last four games coming into this matchup with the Charlotte Hornets. Chicago dropped games to the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat during that stretch. But it should be noted that the loss to the Heat was on the second night of a back to back, and that the Heat should be sharper for this contest against the Hornets.
For the Bulls, rebounding the basketball is a huge key, as they rank among the worst squads in the league in terms of their rebounds per game average. Fortunately for Chicago, Hornets center Mason Plumlee is set to miss this game with an injury, which should make it easier for them on the glass. That is especially true with Nikola Vucevic back in the starting lineup after he had missed some time of his own.
Expected Line-Up: Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Derrick Jones Jr., Nikola Vucevic
Expert Pick #1 – Bulls -5.5 @ -110
The first bet to make before this contest between the Hornets and Bulls is to take the Bulls -5.5 at -110 odds. Chicago has won the last three meetings between these teams, taking all three of those games by double figures. Here, the Bulls should be able to do the same thing, as they take advantage of a defense that doesn’t put up a lot of resistance on a consistent basis from the Hornets.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 225.5 @ -112
Next, the over 225.5 is a bet worth making ahead of this game at odds of -112. With the Hornets giving up as many points per game as they do, a contest that is even semi-competitive should yield enough for the over here. Chicago could very well score into the 120s by themselves in this game if their shooting is even average by their standards, which would help the total in a big way.
Expert Pick #3 – Bulls In Regulation @ -182
Finally, placing a bet on the Bulls to win in regulation at -182 is a play worth making here. With the Hornets coming off of four road games in their last five contests, including their most recent going to overtime, we should see the Bulls come out sharper and stay sharper for this contest. That will help them win within 48 minutes against a Charlotte team that could use a homestand in the worst way.
This matchup between the Hornets and Bulls could be one that we see in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season. But until then, we will have to settle for what should be a compelling regular season affair. Chicago will win this game, and continue to enjoy a smooth season despite all of the new players they have brought in.