New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls Prediction: Two Teams Heading in Different Directions

New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls prediction and pick for Thursday night's game. Handicapper Jonathan Macri breaks down the Pelicans vs. Bulls, plus the Suns vs. Nuggets in his best picks for Thursday's NBA slate.
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New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls Prediction: Two Teams Heading in Different Directions

  • When: 8:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: League Pass

Click Here for Pelicans vs Bulls Odds

Pelicans vs. Bulls Line Movement

New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls Prediction

The line on this game doubles as a quiz about how closely you've been watching the NBA of late (and really, over the last four months).

On the morning of November 12, if you woke up and looked at the standings, you'd have seen the Chicago Bulls sitting atop the Eastern Conference with an 8-3 record and the third-best net rating in the league at positive-7.2. On the opposite side of the spectrum are the New Orleans Pelicans, who owned the worst record in basketball at 1-11 and the 30th ranked net rating, getting outscored by 11 points per 100 possessions.

Even though we're a long way removed from those first few weeks, the perception still exists that the Bulls are a top team and the Pelicans a mediocre one. As a result, the Pelicans are home dogs in this game.

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Should they be, given how the last four and a half months have gone? Since November 12, those once bottom-feeding Pelicans are barely under .500, with 29 wins against 31 losses, but also holding a positive net rating, outscoring teams by a point per 100 possessions. Chicago, meanwhile, is has gotten outscored by nearly a point per 100 over their last 61 games even though they have 34 wins to 27 losses in that time.

The difference is even starker since the break, as the Pels own the fifth-best net rating in the NBA over that time, while the Bulls own the 27th ranked figure, better than just the Rockets, Thunder, and Blazers. Yes, Brandon Ingram is listed as doubtful for this game, but he's missed the last eight, and New Orleans has still managed to win three of its last five, including road games against the Hawks and Spurs. The Pels are also getting Larry Nance Jr back for this game, set to make his debut with this new team.

Don't let Ingram's absence scare you. The Pelicans are the better even without him and Chicago is all out of sorts. Take the points at home.

New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls Pick

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Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nugget Prediction

  • When: 9:00 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: League Pass

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Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nugget Line Movement

Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nugget Prediction

The Suns may not have anything left to play for this season, having all but wrapped up the top seed in the conference, but we've gotten no indication they're going to let up. Phoenix has won six straight and is playing great, sporting the third-best net rating in the league since the break while going 11-4.

Denver has been respectable in their own right with a 10-5 record and eighth-ranked net rating of plus 4.4, but they're also 3-4 in their last seven with only one convincing win over the hapless Wizards, a 12-point victory over the Clippers, and a close win in Philly.

The Suns have won five of the last six in this matchup as well by an average of 18.4 points, including their last meeting - a 126-97 thrashing back in November. The Nuggets are playing better since then, but not good enough to be favored here, even if they are at home. Go with the NBA's best.

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Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nugget Pick

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Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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