The Los Angeles Lakers (23-23) host the Chicago Bulls (21-24) on Thursday, January 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET. Betting odds have the Lakers as the favorites at -4.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 228.5 total points.
This article provides in-depth analysis of this Bulls vs. Lakers matchup, including odds, starting lineups, key matchups, and a prediction that the Bulls will cover the spread.
Bulls vs. Lakers Prediction
This game is difficult to handicap at the moment given the uncertain injury situations for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The line being set at Lakers -4.5 seems to indicate that at least one and likely both of those star players are expected to play, but the mere possibility that they could miss the game (or leave it early) creates some immediate value on the Bulls at that number.
Even if James and Davis suit up, the Bulls with the points are still a solid pick in this spot, even without Zach LaVine. They have already beaten the Lakers this season without LaVine, winning 124-108 on December 20 in Chicago. The Bulls have won four of their last five games against the Lakers and they are 3-2 against the spread in those games.
The Lakers have struggled ATS this season. Their 20-26 ATS record is better than only five other teams. The Bulls, on the other hand, are a solid 23-21-1 ATS this season and 6-3 over their last nine games. The Lakers are 4-8 ATS over their last 12 games, including a 4-6 mark at home over that span (though technically one of those games was a Clippers home game).
The Bulls also have a significant edge in one of the most important areas that helps underdogs cover the spread: turnovers. They are 4th in the league with a 12.5% turnover rate, while the Lakers are just 19th with a 13.5% rate of forcing turnovers. On the other hand, Chicago is 6th in forcing turnovers at 14.7% while the Lakers are also just 19th with a 14% turnover rate.
Considering the Bulls are also the slowest-paced team in the league and the over/under is set at the low line of 228.5, just a few extra possessions created by a turnover advantage could be enough for the Bulls to keep this game close until the end. When you also factor in the injuries to James and Davis, taking the Bulls with the points is the best bet in this game.
Bulls vs. Lakers Prediction: Bulls +4.5 (-110)
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Bulls vs. Lakers Best Odds
The Lakers are the betting favorites at -4.5 against the spread and with -190 moneyline odds. The Bulls’ moneyline is +155. The over/under in this game is set at 228.5 total points.
Bulls Starting Lineup
Lakers Starting Lineup
Bulls vs. Lakers Injuries
The Lakers are currently dealing with injuries to both of their stars, as Lebron James missed the last game with left ankle tendonitis while Anthony Davis is also questionable tonight with Achilles tendonitis. Forward Cam Reddish has been ruled out with a right ankle sprain.
For the Bulls, star guard Zach Lavine has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and remains out, while starting forward Patrick Williams is also dealing with an ankle strain but is expected to play.
Bulls vs. Lakers Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Bulls vs. Lakers below.
D’Angelo Russell vs. Alex Caruso
One of the biggest reasons we picked the Bulls to cover +4.5 in our Bulls vs. Lakers prediction is the injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With those two superstars questionable and at best hobbled, the Lakers really need D’Angelo Russell to keep up his recent hot streak.
Russell has scored 20+ points in four straight games and in five of his last six. He is averaging 27.2 points per game over that span and shooting over 50% from three-point range (26-for-51) on 8.5 attempts per game.
It should be a great matchup with Bulls guard Alex Caruso, who is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and should draw the primary assignment on Russell. Caruso was a 2022-23 All-Defensive First Team selection who is currently 6th in steal rate (2.6%) and 9th in defensive box plus-minus.
If Caruso can slow down Russell, the Bulls will have a very good chance to win this game, let alone covering the spread.
Free Throw Shooting
The Lakers could have a big advantage at the foul line in this game. They get to the line at the 7th-highest rate in the league, attempting 24.2 freebies per game. They also keep opponents off the line at the 2nd-highest rate.
On the other hand, the Bulls get to the line at the 3rd-lowest rate in the league, attempting just 20.6 per game. They are much better defensively at keeping opponents off the line, but they are still just 14th in opponent free three rate.
This Lakers advantage could be neutralized if both James and Davis miss the game, as they attempt by far the most free throws on the team. Combined they are averaging 12.6 attempts per game, more than half of the Lakers’ team total.