NBA Predictions: Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic

Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic
Monday, 3/19/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Chicago -1
Current Betting Line:  Orlando -1
Opening Total:  184
Current Total:  184
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Orlando Magic have split their first two meetings with the Chicago Bulls this season

Chicago heads out on the road for the first time since March 7 and is coming off an 89-80 win over the Philadelphia 76ers as four-point home favorites on Saturday.  The Bulls have also gone “under” the total in two consecutive games after going “over” the total in the five previous contests.  It was an impressive victory last time out due to All-Star point guard Derrick Rose sitting out his third straight game with a groin injury.  The team is 18-6 overall on the road, including a 13-4 mark versus the Eastern Conference.  Chicago is 16-8 ATS on the road and the “over” is 15-9 in that situation.

The Bulls will likely be without Rose in this affair, as he’s listed as doubtful on the injury report.  Chicago has split its first two meetings with Orlando during the 2011-12 campaign, including a 97-83 win as one-point road underdogs on Jan. 6.  Total players will find that the “over” and “under” have alternated in the last six meetings, with these two Eastern Conference rivals going above the posted total of 182 on March 8 in Chicago.

Orlando will be playing the second game of a back-to-back after dropping a 91-81 decision to the Miami Heat as 8.5-point road underdogs on Sunday.  “Our effort defensively early in the game was not there,” commented Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.  All eyes will be on the play of All-Star center Dwight Howard, who has averaged 29.3 points and 14.5 rebounds in his last four contests against Monday’s opponent.  The squad is 23-11 overall against teams from the East, including a 13-4 record inside the Amway Center.  Orlando is 7-1 ATS after a loss by 10 or more points this season.

The Magic are 42-41 all-time against the Bulls, including a 23-17 mark at home.  Orlando is 16-7 when playing in front of the home fans this season and 136-51 in that situation during four-plus seasons under Van Gundy’s direction.  Taking care of the basketball is something the team is still trying to get a grasp of, sitting 21st in the league in averaging 15.4 turnovers per game.  Orlando committed even turnovers in the fourth quarter and 18 in the game against Miami.

Bettors will likely back the Magic due to their 8-0 ATS mark versus Central division opponents, while the Bulls are 1-4 ATS following a win.

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