Bulls-Magic Line at Orlando -1.5

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Bulls-Magic Line

A very competitive NBA matchup is on slate Friday evening with the Bulls-Magic line at -1.5 in favor of Orlando.  The total on this game was set at 189.5

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Two teams vying for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference will battle in Orlando on Friday night when the Bulls travel to take on Dwight Howard and the Magic. The teams have split the two previous meetings this season.

Since a mediocre 9-8 start to the season, the Bulls have been perhaps the best team in the NBA. They are 32-10 (.762) since then and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind Miami for second, and three games behind Boston for first. Chicago is 14.5 games ahead of their nearest opponent in the Central Division, so the Bulls are a lock to finish with one of the top three seeds. They are 35-23 ATS this season, which ranks in the top five in the NBA. They have won 11 of their past 15 games ATS, but lost both SU and ATS in their last game at Atlanta. The Bulls scored just 30 points in the second half, blowing a 50-33 halftime lead, to lose to the Hawks. Derrick Rose missed 16-of-21 shots, scored just 12 points and committed six turnovers in the loss. Rose has struggled shooting the ball this season against Orlando, making just 32.4 percent of his shots while averaging 18.5 PPG. Carlos Boozer will be making his first visit to Orlando as a member of the Bulls, and has enjoyed playing there in his NBA career. His 24.6 PPG at Amway Center is his highest at any venue since 2005-06.

The Magic enter Friday in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, 2½ games in front of Atlanta. They are just 28-32 ATS this season, but have won eight of their past 12 ATS. Orlando is coming off its most inspiring, impressive win of the season on Thursday in Miami. Trailing 73-49 with nine minutes remaining in the third period, the Magic ended the game on a 50-23 run to shock the Heat, 99-96. After averaging 12.2 PPG over his previous 21 games while shooting just 38% FG, Jason Richardson scored 24 points on Thursday, connecting on 6-of-8 from three-point range. Richardson scored just eight points in Orlando’s loss to the Bulls in January, but scored 20 against them as a member of Phoenix on November 24. After averaging just 17.5 PPG in his previous 13 games against the Bulls, Dwight Howard tied a season-high with 40 points in the Magic’s loss to Chicago in January. 

Orlando is 5-0 SU in the Bulls last five visits to the Amway Center, going 4-1 ATS in those games. Chicago has played well ATS on the road this season (16-13) while Orlando is just one game above .500 at home ATS (17-16). The Bulls have also won six of their past eight games this season as road underdogs.

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