Bulls vs. Suns Preview: Can the Bulls End Their Skid?

Action Network NBA betting contributor Tyler Schmidt previews how to bet Friday's matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns.

Bulls vs. Suns Odds

Bulls Odds +6
Suns Odds -6
Over/Under 230
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns are starting to go in the opposite direction lately. The Bulls have gotten healthy, but still can’t find a way to string wins together as they fall in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Suns are adding more players to the injury report, but still holding strong in the Western Conference and are the only team in the league with a playoff birth locked up.

Can the Bulls figure out their road struggles playing against one of the best home teams in the entire league? They have the veteran leadership to do so.

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Bulls Can’t Close Against Top Teams

The Bulls have lost seven of their last nine games as they have fallen down to fifth in the Eastern Conference. However, with how close the conference is, the Bulls are only 2.5 games back from the second-overall seed.

Where the Bulls struggle even more is against the top teams in the league. They have lost 13-straight games against everyone above them in the East and the top three teams in the Western Conference.

In their previous meeting, the Bulls made a huge comeback where they put up 41 points in the fourth quarter but still fell short by three points. Both DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine put up over 30 points during that game while shooting a combined 53.2% from the field.

DeRozan has slowed down a little bit recently, but not much. He is still playing incredibly high minutes as he is averaging a career-high 27.9 points per game while shooting 50.4% from the field and a career-high 35.6% from downtown.

LaVine has been nearly just as good as he has averaged over 23 points per game for the fourth-straight season. He has been dealing with a bit of a knee issue lately, but he has been playing through the pain and is probable tonight.

The third great player on this Bulls trio is center Nikola Vucevic. He has averaged a double-double for the fifth-straight season as he is scoring 18 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Vucevic has had 40 double-double’s this season which ranks fifth in the league.

This will be Alex Caruso’s fourth game back with the Bulls due to his injury. He has averaged 27 minutes per game since he returned to the lineup. Lonzo Ball is still out along with Patrick Williams, but other players have stepped up.

Not only have the Bulls been struggling lately, but they have a 16-18 record on the road this season. Not a great recipe for this matchup against the Suns who rank second in Defensive Rating this season, allowing 106.3 points per game.

Nothing Stops the Suns Train

The Suns continue to be the best team in the league with a record of 56-14. They have an eight-game lead in the Western Conference as they have already clinched a playoff spot. It is only a matter of time until they clinch the top seed.

The Suns are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the best home record in the league at 29-8. They have the third-best Offensive Rating, scoring 114.5 points per game. Even without Chris Paul, they are finding ways to win games.

Paul who leads the league with 10.7 assists per game has been out since the All-Star Break. The Suns have won eight of their last 12 games without Paul. They continue to score at an extremely high clip, especially recently as they have averaged 133.3 points per game over the last three games.

Devin Booker has really stepped up with Paul being out. In the eight games that Booker has played without Paul, he is averaging 27.9 points and 7.8 assists per game. He has been a fantastic facilitator with Paul on the bench.

Not only is Paul out, but so is sharp-shooter Cameron Johnson. Jae Crowder is also listed as questionable as he missed last game due to injury. The Suns have such a deep bench that they didn’t miss a beat last game. Torrey Craig filled in for Crowder in the starting lineup and had a massive double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds as he shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the field.

It is a little bit surprising that despite how good the Bulls’ record is, they still rank 20th in Defensive Rating. Booker will be very active in this Suns offense, but they should at least be a little bit tougher of a test than the Rockets were.

Bulls-Suns Pick

The Bulls better get used to playing on the road and start fixing their issues. This is their third road game in a row as they will go back home after this and play the Toronto Raptors. However, after that game the Bulls get back on the road for five-straight games. Playing the Suns is a tough spot to get right.

However, they are playing the Suns at the perfect time. Despite their recent success without Paul in the lineup, the Suns Defensive Rating drops four points from 106.6 to 110.6. There is also a chance they won’t have Crowder which would be a big loss playing against DeRozan and LaVine.

This pick is going against the grain a little bit, but I think the Bulls play well enough to at least cover this six-point spread. That seems like way too many points with the injury situation on the Suns and how healthy the Bulls are.

I would take the Bulls down to +5 and don’t hate a sprinkle on the moneyline.

Pick: Bulls +6 (-110)