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Bulls desperate to end losing streak in Friday Night Clash with Toronto

Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | February 19, 2016

Chicago Bulls are in desperate need of a win to halt a five-game straight up losing streak, and maintain their tenuous grip on a playoff spot, when they play host to Toronto Raptors on Friday as 6.5-point underdogs in NBA betting with Coral.

Bulls returned to action from the NBA’s lengthy All-Star Break with a 106-95 loss in Cleveland on Thursday night, covering as 12.5-point underdogs, but continuing a slide that has seen them win just five of their past 19 to fall to 27-26 on the year, and dropping them into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, alongside Charlotte Hornets.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Richard Jefferson, left, and Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson battle for a loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Chicago has been equally disappointing at the sportsbook, where they have posted a 5-14 against the spread record during the current swoon, and will hit the floor in Friday night’s Raptors vs. Bulls clash at United Center as an underdog for a ninth straight game.

Toronto (25/1 with Coral to win the NBA Championship) resumes action with a firm grip on second place in the Eastern Conference standings, 3.5 games back of the Cavaliers.

Raptors’ success has been built on their current 14-2 SU run, which has featured seven SU wins in nine road contests. However, the Dinos have failed to meet heightened expectations at the sportsbook, going 2-5 ATS in their past seven in NBA betting at Coral, and are a middling 12-12 ATS this season when favoured by five or more points.

Bulls have also dominated Toronto in recent years, posting SU wins in their last seven meetings, and are 2-0 SU this season including a 104-97 victory in the Windy City on December 28th.

Houston Rockets (-8.5) @ Phoenix Suns

Houston Rockets will also try to reverse a three-game SU losing skid that has left them on the edge of the playoff picture when they visit the Phoenix Suns on Friday as 8.5-point favourites in American basketball betting at Coral.

It has been a massively disappointing season for Rockets, who opened the season at a strong 16/1 on the NBA championship odds, but have tumbled to a distant 66/1 after hitting the All-Star Break with a mediocre 27-28 record, punctuated by a brutal 6-9 SU run over their past 15 contests.

Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard goes to the basket against the Portland Trail Blazers in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Houston. Portland won 96-79. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

However, a trip to the desert may prove to be a tonic for Rockets, who will face a Suns squad in freefall, SU winners of just two of their past 26 games.

Friday night’s contest marks the second meeting in two weeks at Talking Stick Resort Arena, following Houston’s 111-105 win on February 4th, which improved Rockets to 6-1 SU in their past seven against Phoenix, including four road victories.

Golden State Warriors (-8.5) @ Portland Trail Blazers

In other NBA betting action at Coral on Friday night, Golden State Warriors (5/4 favourites for the NBA Championship) shoot for a 12th straight SU win as they visit the Portland Trail Blazers as 8.5-point chalk.

Warriors’ hot streak improves them to 48-4 on the campaign, putting them on pace to win 75 games this season, smashing the NBA record of 72 regular season wins set by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.

Suns Warriors Basketball

But, while Dubs strive to rewrite the record book, they have been a shaky bet of late, winless ATS in their past two, and 7-8 ATS in their past 15.

The Blazers have won 12 of 15 SU to return to .500 and playoff contention in the Western Conference, where they sit alone in seventh place, but have claimed victory in just two of their 11 against Golden State, including three straight home losses.

Also on Friday, Boston Celtics visit Utah Jazz as 1.5-point favourites, Los Angeles Lakers host San Antonio Spurs as 11.5-point underdogs, and Oklahoma City Thunder take on Indiana Pacers as 8.5-point chalk, while Atlanta Hawks battle Miami Heat as 9.5-point favourites, and New York Knicks travel crosstown to take on Brooklyn Nets as 4.5-point favourites.

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