Chicago Bulls (10-19) at Washington Wizards (8-17)
NBA: Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 at 7:00 pm ET (Capital One Arena)
Line and Odds: Washington Wizards -1.5 Over/Under: 229.5
Free ESPN NBA Picks Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls
There is an expectation that a team as young as the Chicago Bulls would show inconsistency. Chicago is the youngest team in the NBA in terms of average age. They have gone 10-19 on the season, a mark that currently places them 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are looking to show consistency by doing something they haven’t done all season with a win over the Wizards. It would be the first time this year that the Bulls won 3 games in a 5 game stretch. It has been difficult for the Baby Bulls to string wins together. 1 win is often followed by 2 losses. 2 wins in 3 games is often followed by a 4 game losing streak. This is par for the course when your 4 healthy highest scorers are all 24 years old or under. Zach LaVine is showing people he can do more than dunk, averaging 23.2 points per game. Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter, Jr., and Colby White are all under 23 years old, but they each average between 11-14 points per game. It is a team that’s growing, but they have a ways to go before making noise in the Eastern Conference.
The Chicago Bulls rank 18th in net rating, getting outscored by 1.8 points per 100 possessions. Chicago ranks 29th out of 30 NBA teams in offensive rating, scoring 104.0 points per 100 possessions. Their lack of offensive efficiency closely aligns with their lack of shooting ability. The Bulls rank 27th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 49.9%. Chicago is 23rd in 3-point shooting and 28th in 2-point shooting. While their shooting percentages are the greatest anchors preventing Chicago from rising in the offensive rankings, the other facets of their offense haven’t been much better. The Bulls rank 20th in offensive turnover percentage and 25th in offensive rebound percentage. They also fail to get the requisite production at the free throw line, ranking 22nd in free throws made per field goal attempted.
Chicago ranks 9th in defensive rating, allowing 105.8 points per 100 possessions. Their shooting defense from the field ranks in the middle of the NBA. The Bulls defense is 15th in effective field goal defense, forcing teams to shoot for an eFG% of 51.8%. What makes Chicago a top ten defense is their knack for creating turnovers. The Bulls rank 1st in the league in defensive turnover percentage, forcing giveaways on 16.3% of their opponents’ offensive plays. The next closest team to the Bulls in that statistic is the Phoenix Suns at 14.7%, so the Bulls are way ahead of everyone else when it comes to wreaking defensive havoc. However, it is possible to exploit Chicago’s defense on the glass. The Bulls rank 26th in defensive rebound percentage, grabbing 75.4% of the defensive rebounds available to them.
I’m not sure there is any team in the NBA that is more bruised up than the Washington Wizards. They came into the season knowing their star point guard, John Wall, wouldn’t be available to them. For the past couple of weeks, Thomas Bryant, C.J. Miles, and Jordan McRae have all been sidelined with various ailments. This week, the Wizards received some more bad news. Rookie power forward Rui Hachimura will miss, at the very least, the next 5 games with a groin injury. Hachimura is their 3rd-leading scorer and 3rd-leading rebounder. Also, it is expected that 2nd-year center Mo Wagner will miss today’s game. Wagner averages 11.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. All of this means that an even greater burden will be placed on star shooting guard Bradley Beal. Beal has averaged 27.8 points, 7.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game. He is 5th in the NBA in points per game and 12th in assists per game. They will also need a strong game from sharp-shooter Davis Bertans. Bertans ranks in the top 20 in 3-point shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, offensive rating, offensive win shares, and offensive box plus/minus.
The Washington Wizards rank 23rd in net rating, getting outscored 4.1 points per 100 possessions. Washington has the 4th highest offensive rating in the NBA, putting up 113.3 points per 100 possessions. The Wizards rank 5th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 54.3%. They are top 10 in the NBA in shooting both 2-point shots and 3-point shots. Washington is 6th in 2-point shooting percentage at 53.1% and 5th in 3-point shooting at 37.5%. This positive quality of their team is more pronounced because of the amount of shot attempts they get up. Washington averages 89.3 shot attempts per 100 possessions, the 6th-highest rate in the NBA. This is in large part due to their strong offensive turnover numbers. The Wizards are 8th in the NBA in offensive turnover percentage, giving the ball away on just 12.3% of their offensive plays. Stylistically, head coach Scott Brooks has his team running up and down the court. The Wizards rank 2nd in pace factor, using 104.2 possessions per 48 minutes.
Washington ranks dead last out of 30 NBA teams in defensive rating, giving up 117.4 points per 100 possessions. The Wizards also rank 30th in terms of effective field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot an eFG% of 56.8% against them. They defend the inside and the outside of the 3-point line extremely poorly. Washington ranks 27th in 3-point defense, allowing teams to shoot 38.2% from 3. They rank 30th in 2-point defense, allowing a 2-point shooting percentage of 56.4%. Washington also has a difficult time when it comes to rebounding on the defensive end. The Wizards rank 28th in defensive rebound percentage, grabbing just 75.0% of the defensive rebounds available to them. Washington also ranks in the bottom quarter of the league in terms of free throw attempts allowed. They rank 24th in FTs attempts against, allowing teams 25.0 FT attempts per 100 possessions.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Chicago is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago’s last 6 games.
Chicago is 6-12 SU in their last 18 games this season.
Washington is 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games.
Washington is 4-12 SU in their last 16 games at home.
Washington is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games when playing at home against Chicago.
ESPN NBA Scores Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards
I’m taking the Washington Wizards -1.5 in this matchup. In a battle of two below-average teams, I like to consider who has the best unit and best player on the floor. The best unit on the floor will be the Washington Wizards’ offense. Overall, the Wizards have had its share of issues. However, the Wizards’ offensive unit has been elite all season. An argument could be made that they have the best offense in the NBA. Washington runs an up-tempo system and shooters like Davis Bertans create all sorts of problems for opposing defenses. The best player on the floor tonight will be Bradley Beal. He has been tasked with carrying the franchise while John Wall is on the sidelines. Beal excels at scoring and also happens to be one of the best passing shooting guards in the NBA. Even with the Wizards’ injuries, Beal has the capability to shoulder the brunt of Washington’s offensive load. Take the home team and give the points.