Utah Jazz @ Chicago Bulls – Friday March 8, 2013 8:00PM EST
The sportsbook experts do not envy the Utah Jazz at all. The Jazz currently holds down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but the heat is definitely on. Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers started to win games in big chunks, the odds against the Jazz making the playoffs have increased. Even though the Lakers is currently three games out of eighth spot, it is still the general consensus that Los Angeles will be overtaking Utah and moving the Jazz out of the playoffs. All that Utah can do is keep winning and try to move up in the standings.
The Chicago Bulls also holds a tenuous spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The betting websites currently have the Bulls in fourth place in the conference, but a couple of losses in a row could drop the Bulls to as low as seventh. Considering the up and down season that Chicago has been having without its injured superstar Derrick Rose, the fact that Chicago is sitting in fourth place is pretty amazing. Since the team is not expecting Rose back, every win is now at a premium for the Chicago Bulls.
The sports betting numbers just do not stack up for the Jazz in this game. Utah has an amazing 22-8 home record, but it is 10-20 on the road. The Jazz has been in a real slump as of late as it was only able to win four of its last 10 games. None of this is what the Utah fans want to hear as the Jazz go into a situation where it must win more games than it losses between now and the end of the season if it wants to stay in the playoff hunt. Utah needs to turn things around and Chicago would be a great place to do it.
The online betting experts have always been wary of the Bulls at home. Chicago is 17-14 at home, which is worse than its 17-12 record on the road. You could argue that it indicates balance on the part of the Bulls, but Chicago has also lost six of its last 10 games and balance has not been part of the equation. Chicago needs to continue to exert itself at home or else it could find itself in the bottom four of the Eastern Conference instead of the top.
The Bottom Line
The Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls both need wins at this point. The big difference is that Utah needs wins to preserve its playoff life while Chicago is just trying to retain home court for the opening round of the playoffs. This will be an interesting game to watch, but it should be a game that Chicago wins handily.
Read more about the Chicago Bulls and its challenges this season.
Pick: Chicago Bulls