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What are the odds? Can the Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls?

Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Can the Wizards win against the Chicago Bulls? Yes, and not just in the any team can beat any other on any given night kind of way. The Bulls have been the better team this season, but they’ve also gone just 5-10 since the All-Star break. The Wizards: 5-11.

The Bulls will be without starting PG Lonzo Ball, who suffered a setback in rehabilitating his knee injury last week. The Wizards won’t have starting SG Bradley Beal (out for the season with a wrist injury) and starting PF Kyle Kuzma, who’s suffering from tendinitis in his right knee.

Here are some things to watch:

  • Sniper, no sniping — The Wizards are 29th in three-point attempts per 100 team possessions. The Bulls are 30th.
  • One Shot Only — While neither team will turn down an offensive rebound if it bounces their way, both teams favor getting back on defense to chasing their own misses. Washington ranks 26th in offensive rebounding percentage. Chicago: 28th. And, the strategy works: the Wizards are allowing the NBA’s second fewest transition points this season. The Bulls rank 9th. Chicago actually allows fewer transition opportunities than Washington, but the Wizards have the league’s 4th best transition defense, while the Bulls have the 9th worst. It might be smart for the Wizards to attempt some fast breaks to see if they can exploit Chicago’s ineffective transition defense.
  • Divergence — Both teams tend to avoid turnovers (Chicago has the 9th best turnover percentage; the Wizards are 11th), but the Bulls do a better job of forcing them. They’re 19th in defensive turnover percentage. The Wizards are 30th.
  • Who’s the better driver? — According to the NBA’s tracking data, the Wizards have the 9th most drives per game. The Bulls are 24th. But, Chicago gets the 10th most at-rim field goal attempts, while the Wizards are 21st. What gives? Washington has the fourth most attempts from floater range while the Bulls are 30th. The Wizards have the league’s 5th best conversion rate on shots in this range, but their percentage is just 45.6%, which means it’s not a good shot for them.

Expected Rotations

Wizards Starters

PG — Tomas Satoransky, PPA: 85 (with the Wizards)

SG — Corey Kispert, PPA: 84

SF — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, PPA: 95

PF — Rui Hachimura, PPA: 84

C — Kristaps Porzingis, PPA: 165 (with the Wizards)

Bench

G — Ish Smith, PPA: 80

F — Deni Avdija, PPA: 71

F — Anthony Gill, PPA: 85

C — Daniel Gafford, PPA: 144

Note: PPA is my overall production metric, which is pace neutral and includes accounting for role, position and defense. In PPA, 100 is average and higher is better.

Bulls Starters

PG — Ayo Dosunmu, PPA: 80

SG — Alex Caruso, PPA: 103

SF — Zach LaVine, PPA: 158

PF — DeMar DeRozan, PPA: 158

C — Nikola Vucevic, PPA: 117

Bench

G — Coby White, PPA: 92

F — Javonte Green, PPA: 128

F — Patrick Williams, PPA: 67

C — Tristan Thompson, PPA: 85 (with the Bulls)

DraftKings Odds

Visit the DraftKings Sportsbook for the latest betting lines. Here’s what they offered at publication time:

  • Spread: Bulls -3
  • Total (over/under): 225
  • Moneyline: Wizards +130/Bulls -150

Prediction Machine

My prediction machine has the Wizards with a 47% chance of winning. The DraftKings line, which had the Bulls as three-point favorites, implies a 40% chance of Washington winning. My machine forecasts a total of 220 points, but I’d expect the total to go higher because scoring leaguewide has been climbing over the past couple months.

In the category of Predictions Sure to Go Wrong, IF I was to wager on this game, I’d pick the Bulls to win and the Wizards to cover, and I’d take the over. Friendly reminder: These predictions are not to be used as a basis for actual wagers.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.