Chicago Bulls (27-25 SU, 24-27-1 ATS)
The Bulls are back in action after an All-Star break respite and look to tack on another victory to their current three-game win streak. They have not only increased the slight distance from the Hawks who are nipping at their heels for the fourth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but have also made their backers happy campers by covering the NBA odds in each and every contest during their last three games.
The Bulls are doing it all on defense, currently ranked second in points allowed surrendering an average of 92.3 points per game, because their offense has been virtually nonexistent. The Bulls are ranked dead last in the NBA in points scored with an identical 92.3 as their points allowed. But their suffocating defense was on display in their last game against Brooklyn when they limited the Nets to just 76 points in a comfortable 92-76 victory. As a matter of fact, for those that follow your old buddy Swinging Johnson on a regular basis, we cashed in that game with Chicago easily covering the 3 ½ point impost in NBA odds.
Toronto Raptors (29-24 SU, 32-20-1 ATS)
The Raptors are riding the wave of a three-game winning streak themselves with their latest conquest over the Washington Wizards last night where they prevailed 103-93 and cashed once again as 2 ½ point road dogs in NBA odds. The Raptors have been a betting favorite this season, covering the number in over 61% of their games and making fans out of many even living outside of Toronto. Much like their opponents this evening, Toronto also has a stout defensive unit but unlike the Bulls the Raptors are equipped with a bit more punch offensively. Toronto is averaging 99.7 points per game this season but have amped up the power during their current three-game winning streak by averaging 105 PPG with victories over the Pelicans, Hawks and Wizards.
Kyle Lowry is making it happen recently as he poured in 24 points against the Wizards and added 10 assists. Offensively the Raptors were at their best, connecting on 56.8 percent of their shots from the field which is a season high for the club. Lowry, Toronto’s starting point guard, has been the subject of trade rumors prior to the All-Star break but he is making it increasingly difficult for the Raptors to deal him particularly when the team is seeded third in the Eastern Conference and poised to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Free NBA Pick:
This should be a spirited tilt based on the fact that both clubs are within arm’s length of each other in the playoff standings. Toronto has won two of three this season and cashed in both with the latest victory coming via an 85-79 defensive struggle in Chicago on December 31st.
One thing we know for sure is that plenty of defense will be played but the Under is not necessarily a well advised play in your NBA picks strictly due to the low number the offshore books are dealing and the fact that Toronto has been putting up big numbers recently.
I would say this game is a tossup with a slight advantage going to the Raptors due to their home court advantage. However, let’s not forget that Chicago is well rested and will be playing their first live action since the break. On the other hand, the Raptors are flying home after a battle in DC last night with the Wizards and may not have that spring in their step necessary to derail a suddenly surging Bulls team.
Play the Bulls +2 ½ in your NBA picks at Bet365.com.