Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#539 Chicago Bulls vs.
#540 Oklahoma City Thunder
Friday, November 25, 2022 at 8:10pm EST
Chesapeake Enery Arena, Oklahoma City
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The Chicago Bulls travel to Oklahoma City on Friday to take on the Thunder in an inter-conference battle. Chicago is 8-10 on the season but has won two straight games heading into the OKC matchup. The Thunder are 7-11 on the season and have lost three straight games. The opening tap is scheduled for 8:00pm EST.

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Bulls Regrouping

The Chicago Bulls have rallied in recent games after falling four games under .500 and struggling to find a rhythm on either end due to key injuries and poor execution. In their last two games, however, Chicago seems to have hit their stride once again. First, the Bulls took down the team with the best record in the NBA, Boston, 121-107, and then followed that up with a win over the second best team in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-113. One reason for the Bulls success has been the return of point guard Coby White. White's availability has stabilized the offense and taken some pressure off of players like DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan responded with 36 points and eight assists in the win over Milwaukee. Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic had 18 apiece and White finished with 14 points.

“We’ve had some down moments, losing games in a row, dropping games we feel like we should have won. Getting our butts whooped at home,” DeRozan said. “We’ve kind of went through so many emotions already, 20 games into the season. Sometimes, that’s beneficial. You’ve got to soak in that hurt.”

Chicago has scored an average of almost 120 points per game in their two wins over Boston and then Milwaukee. The Bulls offense has spaced the floor well and White has provided another player that can penetrate and get to the rim. Without starting point guard Lonzo Ball and White for much of the year, the Bulls have struggled with ball control. They rank just 20th in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio. A steady hand at the point guard spot will go a long way to improving that statistic.

Key Injuries: Gorgin Dragic (neck) is doubtful for Friday's game.

 

Thunder Struck

Few teams in the NBA go as hard night in and night out as the Thunder have this season. OKC has taken their lumps in the injury department but they've not been an easy out despite the injuries and the team's youth. Lately, however, the Thunder have struggled as they've dropped three straight games and are now four games under .500 and in 12th place in the Western Conference. The Thunder's latest loss came at the hands of Denver on Wednesday night. Denver jumped out of the gate to take a 38-21 lead after one quarter but the Thunder battled back and dominated the second and third quarters to take a 13-point lead entering the fourth. The Nuggets rallied back to tie the game and force overtime and, with momentum shifted, the Thunder fell in OT 131-126. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant season with 31 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds in the loss.

OKC has been efficient with the basketball, ranking 6th in the NBA. They are also sixth in the NBA in scoring. Their defense has been suspect, however, as they are 29th in the NBA in scoring defense. They have allowed at least 120 or more points in six of their past seven games. They come into this matchup relatively healthy.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Bulls look to be the team trending in the right direction in this matchup. Chicago's offense has done damage in their past two games against two of the better defensive teams in the league in Boston and Milwaukee. They now get a crack at an OKC team that has struggled to contain their opponents. Look for the Bulls to lean on DeRozen's midrange game and White's ability to penetrate the soft OKC defense. OKC doesn't have the kind of defense that can exploit the Bulls occasional lapses with turnovers.

Take the Bulls -1.5

Prediction: Bulls -1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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The Bulls have scored at least 120 points in each of their last two wins. OKC has given up over 120 points in seven of their last eight games. In addition, the Thunder are 29th in the league in points against. OKC plays the third fastest pace of play in the NBA and the Bulls are not far behind, ranking 9th. Finally, OKC is 5-0 to the over in their last five games following a loss.

Take the over, 235 points.

Prediction: Over 235
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.