Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls

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The Toronto Raptors will travel on Sunday night to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls in an Eastern Conference matchup. This is the first of two matchups that these teams will have against one another. The Toronto Raptors are the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 17-20 record. They will be in the second half of a back-to-back as they played in Charlotte against the Hornets on Saturday night. The Chicago Bulls are the 11th seed with a 16-20 record. They are on a two-game losing streak as they dropped Friday’s game against the Miami Heat 101-90.

These teams are very similar on the offensive side of the floor so it will be interesting to see which team can figure out how to get some key stops down the stretch. Let’s take a deeper dive into this matchup to decide where we should be placing our wagers.

Freddie Leading the Charge

The Toronto Raptors have been leaning on point guard Fred VanVleet this season to get the offense going. He is averaging 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 1.7 steals in 36.7 minutes per game. He is shooting well as he is 40 percent from the floor, 38.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 89.4 percent from the charity stripe. In the last game against the Rockets, VanVleet played 38 minutes and finished with 25 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two turnovers. If he can put up this type of shooting performance against the Bulls, he will be able to make this a better game.

The Toronto Raptors have been playing average team defense to begin the year as they are the 14th-ranked defense by giving up 111.8 points per game. In their last game against the Atlanta Hawks, they allowed 121 points on 39-of-90 (43.3 percent) from the floor, 15-of-42 (35.7 percent) from beyond the arc, and 35 free-throw attempts. If the Raptors can figure out how to stop fouling their shooters, they will be able to play better as a team.

One of the Best Scorers

The Chicago Bulls have been dependent on shooting guard Zach LaVine to carry the offensive load this season. He is averaging 28.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, a steal, and 0.4 blocks in 35.5 minutes on the court. He is shooting well as he is 52.5 percent from the floor, 43.9 percent from the three-point line, and 86.3 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Heat, LaVine played 38 minutes and finished with 30 points, six rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and five turnovers. If he can figure out a way to cut down on the sloppy play, it will do wonders for Chicago.

 

The Chicago Bulls have been one of the lesser defenses to begin the year as they are giving up 115.5 points per game, which is 25th in the league. In their last game against the Miami Heat, they allowed 101 points on 37-of-80 (46.3 percent) from the floor, 12-of-35 (34.3 percent) from beyond the arc, and 20 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to defend the three-point line at a better clip, they will be in a better spot here.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The adjusted ratings can tell us a lot with a spread so close. The Toronto Raptors are 11th with a 113.7 offensive rating and 17th with a 112.4 defensive rating. The Chicago Bulls are 17th with a 111.4 offensive rating and 23rd with a 113.2 defensive rating. Turnover percentage is another key factor to look at. The Raptors are 12th with 13.8 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover while the Bulls are 29th in the league with 15.8 percent. This number seems backwards so jump on it before the line gets corrected by the big fish in the industry.

Prediction:
Toronto +3.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

These teams shoot incredibly well from the three-point line as the Raptors are sixth in the NBA shooting 38.5 percent from deep while the Bulls are 10th shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Free-throws are also a key number to look at as hitting your free throws consistently can make the over look even more approachable. Toronto is third in the NBA shooting 83.2 percent from the charity stripe while Chicago is seventh in the NBA shooting 80.3 percent from the free-throw line. The over has hit in the last five Raptors games while it also hit in seven of the last 10 Bulls games against teams with a losing record. All in all, go with OVER 232 points in this game.

Prediction:
OVER 232