Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers Betting Preview

Expect a lot of public betting on the Bulls for Wednesday’s NBA picks. Bovada has Chicago as a +3.5 underdog at Philadelphia, and BetOnline has Billy Donovan’s team at +3 despite their 6-1 start to the season. 

Make no mistake, Philadelphia is a quality team, too, and their 5-2 record to begin the year is impressive as well. The Sixers were able to beat Portland on Monday night even without Joel Embiid, and they are 3-0 on this current homestand. 

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Bulls Keep Answering the Bell

Chicago is a 1-point home loss to New York (104-103) away from starting the 2021/22 season undefeated. The Bulls’ 6-1 record still has them in a tie with the Knicks atop the Eastern Conference, and Chicago has also been particularly solid against the betting odds going 6-1 ATS on the year. 

Chicago has answered nearly every challenge put in front of them this season, including handing Utah its first loss of the year 107-99 at the United Center over the weekend. DeMar DeRozan continued to look rejuvenated in the Windy City with 32 points against the Jazz, and he followed that up with 37 on the road at TD Garden in a 128-114 win over Boston. 

While the Sixers look like they’ll have to rely on Embiid (and maybe Seth Curry) on Wednesday night, the Bulls have no shortage of firepower. Besides DeRozan going off to start the year, he’s tied with Zach LaVine as the team scoring leader with 25.6 ppg. 

Big man Nikola Vucevic (15.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg) can tire out Embiid on the post, and Lonzo Ball (12.3 ppg) can continue to be a great facilitator and score where he’s needed. 

The Bulls were +3 point underdogs to the Jazz and +3.5 against the Celtics and won both of those games outright. They face similar betting odds on Wednesday night – but will the results also be the same? 

Embiid Back in the Lineup

Embiid sat out Monday’s contest, and although he had an MRI over the weekend on his problematic knee, the benching against the Trail Blazers was nothing more than scheduled rest. The 76ers getting the dominant big man back in the lineup (21.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg) is one of the major reasons the betting odds have Philadelphia the favorite over this impressive Bulls squad. 

Chicago has fared pretty well vs. opposing centers this season except for a 19-rebound performance from Utah’s Rudy Gobert. The Bulls held Embiid to a 13/10 performance late last season, but the Philadelphia big man also plastered a 50/17 outing on Chicago in February of last year. 

Doc Rivers may need one of those 50-burgers from Embiid in Wednesday’s NBA picks as 2nd leading scorer Tobias Harris (19.8 ppg, 9rpg) will miss a second straight game due to entering league health and safety protocols. Danny Green (hamstring) is also out, and Ben Simmons has yet to play this year due to personal reasons. 

Can a thin Philadelphia squad beat what looks to be a very deep Bulls team? More importantly, with Harris (and Green) out, why do sportsbooks still favor the Sixers by 3-3.5 points in the betting odds? 

Bulls at 76ers Pick 

This almost seems like a red flag game that the Sixers would be favored even without Harris and, to a lesser extent Green. Chicago has some momentum going right now, but sportsbooks still haven’t fully invested in just how good the Bulls may be this season. 

Therefore the only thing to do is take Chicago until they get the credit that is due in the betting lines. The Bulls getting points in wins against Utah and Boston look like a steal now, and we just may say the same thing after Wednesday night’s game. 

Pick: Bulls +3.5

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