Lakers at Bulls Free Tuesday Play

On March 12, 2019, in Free Picks, NBA, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Bulls plus 1 hosting Lakers 

Maybe in the long run LeBron James will be proven right in his decision to sign with the Lakers. But it sure didn’t happen this season.
The Lakers are 30-36. They have fewer victories than the Orlando Magic and are not making the playoffs. The Lakers were sunk by multiple injuries to their best players, including James missing 17 games, Luke Walton’s questionable coaching and morale that became destroyed when it was rumored the Lakers would be willing to deal any of their players except James for Anthony Davis.
Still, shouldn’t the Lakers be able to beat the Bulls, who are the fourth-worst team in the NBA behind the Knicks, Suns and Cavaliers? Yes – if the Lakers had their second, third and fourth-best players and James wasn’t having his minutes cut back.
But LA is without injured Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Kyle Kuzman may not play either having missed the past two games with an ankle injury. James hasn’t been able to lift this disgruntled and disappointed crew. The Lakers are 4-10 since he returned from a groin injury.
The Lakers have lost and failed to cover in their last five games of which the last three were at home. Somtimes getting away from home can actually be a good thing. There is no evidence of that, however, for the Lakers. They are 0-5 SU and ATS during their past five road games with losses to the Suns, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Hawks and 76ers. Four of those teams are lottery bound.
These Lakers now give a majority of playing time to such non-luminaries as Moe Wagner, Alex Caruso and Jonathan Williams. All three of those guys played more minutes than James in the Lakers’ last game.
Want some trends? OK, the Lakers are 5-20-1 ATS in their last 26 games versus Eastern Conference opponents. The Lakers also are 2-10-1 ATS the past 13 times when meeting a foe with a below .400 winning percentage.
The flip side of this handicap is can the Bulls play well enough to win? I’m not expecting Zach LaVine to play. He has been the Bulls’ best player. LaVine has a strained patellar in his right knee. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bulls even shut him down for the season.
That still leaves the Bulls with the three best players on the court after James if Kuzman doesn’t play in Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter and Kris Dunn. The Bulls appear locked into the fourth-worst record in the NBA. So they shouldn’t be tanking especially after a disappointing 131-108 road loss to the Pistons on Sunday in which Chicago coach Jim Boylen questioned his team’s toughness.
The Bulls are 3-3 in their last six home games with two of those victories coming against the Celtics and 76ers. Chicago should be primed for a good effort, have a talent edge  given James’ reduction in playing time and own home-court. So I don’t accept that the Bulls opened an underdog.
(Editor’s note: Stephen Nover is winning across the board cashing 55 percent of his NBA plays this season, 61 percent of his college basketball and 58 percent in hockey. If you are interested in Stephen’s sports service please email him at, or message him via Twitter.) 

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