The Bulls may remain atop the East, but one of the conference’s best players is finding his groove once again, and a Bradley Beal surge could be enough to inspire some brief confidence in the Wizards.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for the Wizards at the Bulls on Friday, January 7.
Wizards vs Bulls odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
After opening with the Bulls favored by 6.5 points in Friday’s earliest hours, some books knocked this down to -6.0 by mid-morning. The total saw much more movement, opening at 220.0 points before gradually ticking up to 225.5 by lunchtime.
Wizards vs Bulls predictions
Predictions made on 1/7/2022 at 1:25 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Wizards vs Bulls game info
• Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
• Date: Friday, January 7, 2022
• Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: NBCS-CHI, NBCS-DC, SN1
Wizards vs Bulls betting preview
Wizards: Aaron Holiday PG (Probable), Spencer Dinwiddie PG (Questionable), Montrezl Harrell PF (Questionable), Davis Bertrans PF (Doubtful), Anthony Gill PF (Out), Tremont Waters PG (Out), Brad Wanamaker PG (Out), Rui Hachimura PF (Out).
Bulls: Tony Bradley C (Probable), Alex Caruso SG (Out), Javonte Green SG (Out), Tyler Cook SF (Out), Ersan Ilyasova PF (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 5-1 in the Bulls’ last six games following an ATS loss. Find more NBA betting trends for Wizards vs. Bulls.
Wizards vs Bulls picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
In a long NBA season, sometimes the easiest handicap is to rely on the most recent trends, and in Chicago’s case, that means leaning on the fact that the Bulls have failed to cover three straight against lackluster opponents. Their 2022 start has included a current an eight-game winning streak, but they have fallen short in terms of matching sportsbooks’ expectations. Included in those three ATS losses, Chicago failed to cover at Washington less than a week ago.
The Wizards, meanwhile, have covered in six of their last eight games.
That may be an overly-simple approach to this game, but the NBA season includes more ebbs and flows than we give it credit for, and one of these teams is currently ebbing while the other is flowing. (Which one has positive connotation, “ebb” or “flow?” I suppose that’s neither here nor there.)
Further reasoning to this thought ties to Bradley Beal. After a lull through most of the season, Beal has begun to return to his usual self. Beal scored more than 25 points in only six of his first 25 games this season, averaging just 22.4 points per game into mid-December. Not only was that well below his averages of 31.3 and 30.5 points per game in the last two seasons, but it would be his lowest scoring average since 2017-18.
In the last seven games, though, Beal has scored at least 26 points in each and averaged 30.1 points. For good measure, he has also averaged 8.1 assists per game in that stretch, after managing just 5.9 per game up until then.
If Beal truly is back to his old form, tailing the Wizards for a bit until the books trust him may be a viable approach.
Prediction: Wizards +6.5 (-110)
The Over obviously coincides with trusting Beal anew, and considering his surge has been an efficient one, that makes sense. Beal has a true shooting percentage of 59.4 in the last seven games, a distinct improvement over his 52.2 percent through 25 games this season.
He now faces a less-than-stellar defense. As much of a surprise as Chicago has been this season — and full disclosure here, this handicapper is not yet convinced by the Bulls’ success — the defense has recently been as disappointing as expected. Chicago has given up 112.4 points per game in its last 10, a mark that would rank in the NBA’s Bottom 5 over the course of the season.
Furthermore, the Bulls seem to be adjusting to this. Whenever Chicago has failed to cover in recent weeks, it has responded by doubling down on its offense, hence the Over hitting in five of the last six games following a Bulls ATS loss.
Prediction: Over 225.5 (-110)
Opting to bank on Beal’s continued resurgence gives us some possible entertainment on a dreary Friday in the middle of the latest pandemic wave.
On top of being entertaining, it also leans into recent trends, and lets us get a solid line on a team that might be undervalued after their hot start faded into a midseason slide.
Pick: Wizards +6.5 (-110)
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