NBA Picks: Bulls vs. Raptors

Jordan Sharp

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 3:45 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 3:45 PM GMT

In one of the NBA's biggest nights, 20 of the league's 30 teams are in action this evening. The NBA Odds are out, and I have chosen to add a pick on the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors matchup, as I believe it holds great value for bettors tonight.

The NBA odds for this game favor the road Bulls by -4, with a total of 183 ½. Teams have not faired well in Toronto this season, so should tonight be any different? The Bulls are still a strong defensive team, but so far in this young NBA season not many teams have been able to go into Air Canada Center and get a victory. With that being said, let's take a deeper look into tonight's matchup and see whom we should back with our NBA picks.

[gameodds]5/134312/43/us[/gameodds]

Velociraptors

Toronto is 10-8 SU at home this season, which is a far cry from their awful 4-16 SU road record. The Raptors always seem to play better at home where they tend to have better defense, score more points and play with much more consistency. Even though they've been very banged up this season, it doesn't seem to matter when teams come to Toronto.

Despite being without their starting frontcourt for almost this entire season, the Raptors have trudged on. However, Toronto's home-court dominance has been slowing down recently. As Toronto gets deeper into the season, it seems as if the grind of a long season is starting to take its toll.

The Raptors have lost three of their last five home games SU, including losses to Oklahoma City, Sacramento, and Milwaukee. Last night the Raptors lost in Brooklyn to the Nets, and then had to travel home late after the game. Toronto is 5-4 SU on the second night of a back to back this season, but now that we are well into this season, the back to back will start to hurt teams more and more, especially if they have to travel as far as Toronto does to get back home. 

Bulls up, Bulls down

Following Chicago this season has quite literally been like going to an amusement park and jumping on your favorite roller coaster. In most roller coasters you start slow, climb up a very steep incline, only to take a deep plunge followed by multiple hills, up and downs, and possibly even some loops. 

This trend has become a bit more defined here recently, as the Bulls will look like a solid championship contender on one night, and then look like a lottery team the next.

On Monday evening, Chicago was once again on top of the hill, as they destroy the Atlanta Hawks by nearly 40 points. Now the Hawks have been struggling as of late, there is no denying of that. However, Chicago's defense held Atlanta to five points in the second quarter alone. That is the mark of a good defensive team, no matter how poorly the Hawks were playing. This is the NBA.

The Sharp Pick 

The spread listed on the NBA betting lines in this game literally scares me to death. The public is all over Chicago, but teams are only 7-11 ATS this season when playing in Toronto. The Bulls could very well blow this game at the end, something they have done some of this season.

The key to this game is the Raptors coming off of their game last night in Brooklyn. They will likely be sluggish coming out of the gate, and I like the Bulls to jump on them early and take advantage of that. Chicago has likely been in town since yesterday, while Toronto got in late last night or even this morning. I'm going with the Bulls on their first-half spread in this one. 

NBA Pick: Bulls -2 1H
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