Tanking season has begun in earnest, and fortunately for the Chicago Bulls, it coincides with the race to avoid the play-in tournament. That should work to Chicago’s benefit on a trip to Washington, where the Wizards have little incentive to win and a chance to move up two spots in the lottery odds with just a couple more losses.
Then again, the Bulls have struggled to beat mostly anybody lately, so perhaps no opponent falling to the bottom of the standings should be overlooked.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for the Bulls vs the Wizards on March 29, with tip set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Bulls vs Wizards odds
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The Bulls opened as only 2.5-point favorites on Monday and that never rose much, jumping to -3.5 by the end of the night. It bounced back and forth between the two numbers throughout Tuesday morning before settling at -3.5. The total opened at 226.5 late Monday morning, then fell to 223.5 by late Monday night and dropped further to 222.5 on Tuesday morning.
Bulls vs Wizards predictions
Predictions made on 3/29/2022 at X:xx X.m. ET.
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Bulls vs Wizards game info
• Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
• Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Chicago
Bulls vs Wizards betting preview
Bulls: Alex Caruso G (Probable), Zach LaVine G (Questionable), Lonzo Ball G (Out).
Wizards: Kyle Kuzma F (Out), Bradley Beal G (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 6-0 in Chicago’s last six games as a favorite, a stretch that goes back just more than a month. Find more NBA betting trends for Bulls vs. Wizards.
Bulls vs Wizards picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Watching the Wizards of late would contradict the entire premise here. They are on a two-game winning streak, both of which they were underdogs in. How committed is a team to tanking if it is beating the Warriors?
Well, Golden State did not have Steph Curry on Sunday and looking back further than this weekend, Washington’s tanking efforts are undeniable. Intentionally or not — and it is not, as players and coaches do not tank — it is losers in eight of its last 11.
As much as beating the Warriors might run counter to tanking plans, losing to the Rockets by 18 confirms those designs.
The roster used to beat Golden State is not the worst in the league as Oklahoma City and Portland stole that focus on Monday. But Washington is not trotting out much of a rotation. Anthony Gill needed to play 21 minutes on Sunday, with Deni Avdija adding 28 and Daniel Gafford playing 16.
Those first two are better known for their Russian and Israeli professional accomplishments, respectively, while Gafford has become a worthwhile role player for the Wizards this season even if an unknown one.
The trio has seen their combined minutes rise nearly four minutes per game since mid-February when Washington traded for Kristaps Porzingis. That is a slight increase, but it fits in line with what organizations do as they strive to better their lottery odds. Lessen the available rotation to put more onus on fringe players and reap the subsequent results of fringe play.
The Bulls need the luxury of facing fringe play. Chicago has spiraled since its strong fall and winter, having now lost six of its last eight. Falling to the Knicks on Monday night was a particularly rough shortcoming, given the Bulls now stand just one game removed from falling into the play-in tournament.
For tonight’s concerns, that humbling loss should help. Chicago is fresh off a reminder that players and coaches do not tank, so beating those teams cannot be assumed. However Chicago has more to play for tonight and we'll see that show up on tonight's scoreboard.
Prediction: Bulls -3.5 (-107)
Chicago is no longer the fun, fast-paced team we enjoyed early in the season, and missing Lonzo Ball has not helped its case. Increasingly, when the Bulls win, they do so in relatively low-scoring games.
Their last five straight-up wins — spread around 11 losses in this tailspin — have all come with final scores totaling no more than 222. The Bulls’ three most-recent wins included opponents failing to crack 100 points.
Such may not be that shocking when relying on DeMar DeRozan’s mid-range game and Nikola Vucevic’s post presence, but it is a reversal of Chicago’s initial habits this year.
Nowadays, the Bulls’ success comes with slow, low-scoring games. Given Washington has only sporadic interest in any success, assume tonight will fit Chicago’s mold.
Let’s put this in starker terms: The Bulls have broken 115 points just once since the All-Star break, in a loss at Atlanta. Their team total Over/Under tonight is 113, right around that threshold.
Prediction: Under 223 (-110)
The Wizards have cracked 110 points nine times since the All-Star break, a worrisome number given this angle, but running scores up against the Pistons, Hawks and Pacers should be taken with a grain of salt. The Bulls’ defense is not much better than any of them — ranking No. 21 since the break, though still ahead of those three — but Chicago’s pace suppresses scorers.
In the 16 games since the break, its pace of 97.29 possession per game is 1.6 possessions per game slower than its pace through the season’s first 59 games. That may not sound like much, but 1.6 possessions per game is the difference between No. 24 and No. 13 in the season’s pace standings.
Chicago has slowed down, out of necessity more than want, and that has affected its opponents more than anyone else. It has given up 110 points or more in a win just twice since February 5, and not at all since the All-Star break.
Furthermore, the Wizards’ short rotation will not help their chances of surging past 110 points.
Pick: Wizards team total Under 109.5 (-110)
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