Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#541 Chicago Bulls vs.
#542 Orlando Magic
Friday, November 26, 2021 at 7:10pm EST
Amway Center, Orlando
Written by Eric P.

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The Orlando Magic play host to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night from the Away Center in a match up between two teams with high hopes but who appear to be going in opposite directions. The Bulls started the season as one of the hottest teams in the league but have certainly slowed down of late, having lost back-to-back games heading into Friday night. For the Magic, it has been a brutal stretch, coming into the weekend having lost four in a row and eight of their last ten games overall. This will actually mark the first time the two teams will meet this season, after last saw Orlando take two of three meetings overall.

Bulls Aim To Continue Hot Start

The Bulls came out of the gates running to open the season but after back-to-back losses, this week, know a win is a must for Friday night. Wednesday night's loss was especially troubling, coming against a Houston team viewed as one of the worst in the league. Consistency continues to be a focus for the Bulls though and with a difficult stretch looming, grabbing a win and setting the tone and momentum, it going to be crucial.

The Bulls remain healthy heading into the weekend, which could prove to be a massive advantage when stacked up against Orlando's lengthy injury report. Patrick Williams (wrist) remains the lone Bull out, and while his length will be missed on a nightly basis, the Bulls haven't seemed to struggle as a result of his absence.

Chicago's offense has improved in a big way when compared to last season. The offseason additions have definitely helped, as they find themselves 16th in the league in scoring, on the backs of a top-ten field goal shooting output. The key is the three-point percentage, which ranks seventh in the league, for a team making the most out of the deep ball.

Zach LaVine (26.1 ppg) and Demar DeRozan (25.8 ppg), have combined to form of the league's most lethal duos. Add in Nikola Vicevic's return and the Bulls quickly look much more like an Eastern Conference contender. The key is Lonzo Ball though, as when he thrives, the Bulls typically follow suit.

Chicago's defense continues to be one of their calling cards and that'll extend into Friday's matchup. They are seventh in the league in scoring defense and the inclusion of Vicevic should continue to help them grow on that side of the ball. They are ninth in the league in steals and if they can find ways to get out in transition and be aggressive, a win and bounce back might be right there.

Magic Looking For Premier Win

The Magic have struggled this year to get much of anything going and while the last few years have seen them sneak into the playoffs, it appears that is far off the radar for now. They are only 4-15 overall and are in 15th in the Eastern Conference, having only found one win since November 7th. A lot of their recent losses have seen them at least hang around with their opposition. The Magic have struggled to get it done on either side of the court and without more consistency, it's difficult to see the wins mounting for them in the near future.

It doesn't help that they enter Friday night with a lengthy injury report, which is sure to hurt their depth. Markelle Fultz (knee), Etwuan Moore (knee), Jonathan Isaac (kee), and Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) have all already been ruled out. The status of Cole Anthony (ankle) is the one to keep an eye on, as the young point guard has seemed to make a move up the depth chart and is crucial for Orlando's flow on both ends.

The Magic rank 28th in the league in scoring and have fallen in love with the three-point shot this season. The issue is that they are only shooting 33 percent from deep and it hasn't translated into much on actual offense.

Anthony (19.6 ppg) is the team's leading scorer and is the player that really makes the offense work. He also leads the team in 5.9 apg and it's hard to imagine a situation where he could miss Friday's game and see Orlando's offense not go through any more growing pains. The Magic have six players averaging in double figures for points, including a host of youngsters, just showing how bright the future could be for this team.

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Given how Chicago has been playing of late, they know how crucial it is to find a win and snap out of their small two-game losing streak. Grabbing the win against one of the NBA's worst teams shouldn't be a problem and while things are bad for Orlando, they only get worse when looking at the injury report. Anthony could be one of the best players in this game but injuries could keep him off the court on Friday. For the Bulls, their scoring depth and efficiency are unmatched and the Magic won't have an answer for the pace and efficiency at which the Bulls can play. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Orlando, they are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 home games. For the Bulls, they are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following an ATS loss.

Prediction: Bulls (-8)

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With Orlando already out a handful of players and the status of a few other key starters in the air, it's hard to imagine a game in which Orlando finds much success. The Bulls have one of the best scoring defenses in the country and the pace Chicago can play at seems to lend itself to a low-scoring affair. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Orlando, the under is 5-1 in their last six home games and is 4-1 in their last five games against a team with a winning record. In meetings between each other, the under is 20-6 in the last 26 meetings in Orlando and is 21-7 in the last 28 renditions of the matchup.

Prediction: Under 213.5
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.