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The Chicago Bulls (5-10) are taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder (10-4) in a midwest battle between two teams headed in opposite directions.
This iteration of the Bulls team looked like a top-four squad in the East when it formed a few years ago, but their shortcomings and deteriorating relationships have made them the league’s favorite participant in hypothetical trade scenarios.
The Thunder, on the other hand, hold the third-best record in the West and have many young and exciting players that are only going to get better.
Here, we will share our favorite insights and betting picks for the Bulls vs. Thunder matchup on Thanksgiving Eve.
The Thunder are 7.5-point favorites at home, where they are 4-3, against the Bulls, who are 1-4 on the road.
|Over 224.5 (-110)
|Oklahoma City Thunder
|Under 224.5 (-110)
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The Bulls lack the quality, consistency, and on-court drive to make themselves contenders in the East. They’re 23 in net rating, don’t play great defense, aren’t aggressive on the boards, and rank 27th in three-point percentage.
Zach LaVine (21.3 points, 5.1 rebounds) leads the team in scoring despite posting his lowest points per game since his first year in Chicago and the worst three-point percentage of his career. DeMar DeRozan (21 points, 4.4 assists) is also well down in scoring and efficiency compared to his first two seasons in Chi-town, when he averaged 27.9 and 24.5 points.
One of the team’s biggest problems is the lack of an identity. They don’t play complementary offense, and they only have a couple of willing defenders (notably Alex Caruso, who made first-team All-Defense a year ago).
The Bulls lost four of their last five games and fell to the Miami Heat 118-100 their last time on the floor. Coby White (20 points, five rebounds) was the only player to crack 20 points as LaVine and DeRozan combined for just 28 points.
There are still a few months until the trade deadline, but this looks like a team that knows it's over and is waiting for the end. They managed to pull a 21-point comeback a few days ago but don’t seem to enter top gear a majority of the time they’re on the court.
The Thunder “had next” after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made first-team All-NBA and led them to the Play-In Tournament last season. With the added complements of Chet Holmgren and Cason Wallace and another year of development for the other players, they’re now a legit top-four team in the West.
Only the Boston Celtics have a better net rating than the Thunder this far. They shoot the best three-point percentage (41%) in the league while ranking sixth in points off turnovers, ninth in fastbreak points, and 11th in points in the paint, all while producing the fourth-best defensive rating in the Association.
Gilgeous-Alexander (29.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists) is playing at an elite level again and has also increased his defensive responsibility. He leads the league in drives per game and puts a ton of pressure on the rim, which often leads to free throws or open shots for his teammates.
Holmgren (17 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 46% 3PT) and Rookie of the Year runner-up Jalen Williams (17.5 points, 4.1 rebounds) serve as SGA’s primary running mates. However, six players average double-digit scoring.
OKC isn’t amazing on the glass (and ranks last in offensive rebounds per game), but they don’t need to be with their style of play.
The Bulls’ average scoring margin of -4.3 pales in comparison to OKC’s, which is +8.8 and the second-best in the league.
The Thunder also won five straight games by an average of 23.4 points, most recently beating the Portland Trail Blazers 134-91 on Monday. Their growing chemistry, excitement, and togetherness are qualities the Bulls do not have and do not seem capable of recovering.
Needless to say, we’re willing to lay the points with OKC. They’re playing much better basketball and have a future to look forward to, whereas many of the Bulls’ players are looking forward to seeing where they’ll play next.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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