Knicks vs. Bulls prediction: NBA odds, picks, best bets for Friday

The Knicks, who battled back from a 21-point first-half deficit to beat the Kings on Thursday, can feel a bit better about themselves after snapping a three-game losing streak.

However, there won’t be much time to celebrate as the Knicks embark on a four-game NBA road trip, beginning with a stop in Chicago to face the Bulls on Friday night.

Since the Knicks are on the second leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls will have a rest advantage, considering they haven’t played since their home loss Monday to the Hawks.

The rest factor is clearly built into the point spread, with Chicago being bet up to a 1.5-point favorite after opening at -1. With all things being equal, I have the Knicks closer to a two-point road favorite in this spot.

Nonetheless, this is far from an optimal spot for the Knicks, and in this preview I’ll share how bettors can still find value in this game by pivoting to the total.

Knicks vs. Bulls odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Knicks +1.5 (-110) +100 Over 211.5 (-115)
Bulls -1.5 (-110) -120 Under 211.5 (-105)
Odds via BetMGM

Knicks analysis

On a day when the Knicks announced Julius Randle would miss the rest of the season to repair a dislocated shoulder, the Knicks showed they still have enough offense to be competitive in the playoffs. 

Jalen Brunson led all scorers with 35 points against the Kings, while Josh Hart chipped in 31.

The Knicks shot 55% (44-80) from the floor and 42.9% (12-of-28) from beyond the arc. 

Although the Knicks rank last in pace with 96 possessions per game, they garnered 29 free throw attempts thanks to their commitment inside the paint.

The Knicks outscored Sacramento, 60-40, on the interior, and if they follow a similar strategy against the Bulls there should be plenty of scoring opportunities with the game clock turned off.

They are still a top-10 team in offensive efficiency this season, ranking ninth with 117 points per 100 possessions.

Thus, given their efficiency, there’s always a risk when you open with a total as low as 211.5.

The Knicks are a bit weary due to the quick turnaround, and there’s a chance they could have to mount a similar comeback against the Bulls.

Bulls analysis

While the Knicks play with the slowest pace in the league, the Bulls aren’t too far behind. Chicago ranks 29th with 96.87 possessions per game.

However, while the Knicks are 44-32 to the under, Chicago is 41-35 to the over.

According to Killer Sports, both teams’ average total this season is around 222 points. The biggest difference is Chicago ranks 20th in defensive efficiency, while the Knicks rank eighth.

Coby White has had a big season for the Bulls.
Coby White has had a big season for the Bulls. Getty Images

Thus, opposing teams are having some offensive success against this Chicago outfit.

Teams that struggle defensively tend to give away cheap fouls, and the Bulls rank in the bottom half of the league in this category, with opponents averaging 21.8 free throw attempts per game. 

However, the Bulls are most vulnerable on the perimeter, ranking 29th in 3-point field goals allowed (14.8 game).

With the Knicks acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks at the trade deadline, they are an even greater perimeter threat. Both players shoot better than 38% on 3-point attempts for their careers.

Knicks vs. Bulls prediction

Based on how these teams will set up, there’s a decent chance of this game going over the total.

After plugging in both teams’ efficiency and pace metrics into my model, I’m projecting a total closer to 220 points.

Betting on the NBA?

It’s worth noting that this price range has also been very profitable for over bettors this season.

According to our Action Labs database, the over is 11-4 when an opening total of 210.5 or fewer points was bet up.

Pick: Over 211.5 points (-110, BetRivers)


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