The Chicago Bulls will head on the road to take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night in the first game of an ESPN doubleheader. Chicago comes in with a 12-15 record, which is ninth in the Eastern Conference. Chicago has been playing better, winning three of the last four including a 105-102 home win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Philadelphia snapped a bit of a skid their last time out, beating the Houston Rockets 118-113 at home on Wednesday after a three-game losing streak. Despite the rough stretch, the 76ers remain on top in the East with a 19-10 record. Ben Simmons missed Wednesday’s game with an illness but is probable to return on Friday night.
Pick ATS: Bulls +9
The 76ers snapped their losing streak without Simmons, which is impressive, but there has to be some concern about Joel Embiid coming into this game. He missed Monday’s loss to the Utah Jazz with a back injury and admitted it was an issue on Wednesday, though his big numbers wouldn’t show it. The 76ers covered the spread just once in their last five games, and Chicago failed to cover just once in the last four. Let’s go with the Bulls as nine-point road dogs.
Player Prop: Ben Simmons O15.5 points (-106)
Assuming Ben Simmons is feeling well enough to go at full strength, Philadelphia may lean on him to score more than usual to take the load off Embiid’s shoulders a bit. He is averaging 15.2 points per game and is coming off a 42-point performance in his last time out. Simmons scored more than 15 points in each of his last three games and should have plenty of chances to do that again going up against the Bulls, which average the third most possessions per game in the NBA. The more possessions, the better chance Simmons goes over the 15.5 point mark on Friday night.
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