The Chicago Bulls are a virtual lock to finish sixth in the East, no matter how their final two games go, while the Charlotte Hornets are still hoping to host a play-in game.
Playing in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game at home may not make or break Charlotte’s postseason, but it would obviously give a better chance to advance into the formal playoffs. That motivation alone could prove the difference tonight in Chicago.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for the Hornets vs. Bulls on April 8, at 8:00 p.m. ET.
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Hornets vs Bulls odds
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The Bulls opened as 2.5-point favorites on Thursday evening, a number that initially ticked down to -2.0 overnight before bouncing back to -2.5 at most books, with some rising as high as -3.0 Friday morning.
The total saw much more movement, opening at 227.5 and jumping to 230.0 in Friday’s earliest hours. As the morning went along, that total kept climbing, jumping right over 233 at most books and settling at 234.5 in the mid-afternoon.
Hornets vs Bulls predictions
Predictions made on 4/8/2022 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Hornets vs Bulls game info
• Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
• Date: Friday, April 8, 2022
• Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: NBCS-Chicago, Ball Sports South East
Hornets vs Bulls betting preview
Hornets: Gordon Hayward F (Questionable).
Bulls: Lonzo Ball G (Out), Zach LaVine G (Probable), Alex Caruso G (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Bulls are 0-3 ATS in their last three, falling short of covering by an average of 15 points in those three games. Find more NBA betting trends for Hornets vs. Bulls.
Hornets vs Bulls 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.
The Bulls have been outright dreadful against the East’s best teams, the actual is stat so condemning it will not be published here so as to allow any Chicago fans reading this a few more days of bliss—errr, ignorance. Their last three games have furthered that reality, going 0-3 against the East’s elite in three blowouts.
By no means are the Hornets on the same level as the Heat, Bucks, or Celtics, but they do have something in common this week that the Bulls do not. They still care.
Chicago’s wonderful start to the season has become a march toward an early elimination, and this week has underscored that. The Bulls still had a chance at moving up the standings, but only so much could be gained by doing so.
They would still need to face the Bucks, Celtics, or 76ers. So instead, Chicago matched its on-court struggles by ruling out Lonzo Ball for the rest of the season. The Bulls became the formality for the Heat to clinch the East and for the Bucks and Celtics to continue to contend for the second seed.
They can now become the launching pad for Charlotte’s chase of the ninth seed, or even its escape into the better play-in game. The Hornets are one game behind the Hawks and the Nets for the eighth and ninth seeds. They would need things to break their way to move into the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game, but it is not impossible. The first thing Charlotte needs is a win tonight.
This time of year, that motivation is all that really needs to be pointed out but to build on it, realize the Hornets have had the No. 2 offensive rating in the league since March 1 — behind only the scalding hot Celtics — while the Bulls have been No. 27, barely ahead of the woeful Kings.
Chicago was once the most fun offense to watch in the league. Now, it might be Charlotte.
Prediction: Hornets +2.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
Neither team has shown much of a penchant for defense, ranking No. 21 and 25 in defensive rating since March 1, per statmuse. Go ahead and trust your assumption that the Hornets have a slightly better rating.
Three of Chicago’s last four games have hit the Over, the same going for Charlotte. This total is a bit loftier than those were — the highest of those eight games being 230.5 — but that is to be expected when bad defense meets bad defense.
To further the thought of bad defense, enter Zach LaVine. The high-flying guard has never been considered a defensive marvel, but it is a harsh reflection when the Bulls’ defensive rating is 0.4 worse with him in 66 games this season than it is in 14 games without him. LaVine is expected to play tonight, his second game back from a nagging knee concern. He may be on a minutes restriction, but any LaVine minutes will be minutes the Hornets can find creases to drive through.
Every indication says to trust this Over, even if it has jumped by seven points from its opening number.
Prediction: Over 234 (-110 at Wynn)
Not much analysis is needed when a bad Chicago defense made worse by the return of one of its starters — probably done in further by the malaise that has encompassed the Bulls’ spring — meets one of the best offenses in the league with a need to win.
The Hornets should keep chasing that eighth seed, and if they land at No. 9, they can still be thrilled. That pursuit will not be helped by a mere cover tonight as a close loss dooms Charlotte’s hope there. A win is very much needed so let’s take the value of the moneyline and count on the Bulls to keep floundering.
They are 5-14 in their last 19 games after all, including losses to the lowly Knicks and the Kings. If they can beat spiraling Chicago, so can the Hornets.
Pick: Hornets moneyline (+120 at Caesars)
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