Upset Alert: Recent Trends Make Bulls +3.5 Our NBA Pick vs. Raptors

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, January 3, 2016 12:54 PM GMT

With these teams meeting just six days ago, has enough changed to suggest that we should not expect a repeat performance by the Bulls as our NBA Pick?

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NBA Pick: Bulls +3.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Bulls vs. Raptors
The 19-12 Chicago Bulls head on the road and start by taking a trip north of the border to take on the 21-13 Toronto Raptors. Toronto leads the Eastern Conference Atlantic division at this point in the season with a 2.5 game lead over the Boston Celtics. Chicago finds themselves 2.5 games back in the Central division of the Eastern Conference; behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. There is only one book currently publishing a line for this game, Raptors favored by 3.5 points. There is not an O/U total published for this game on the NBA odds board as of early Saturday evening.

 

Betting Preview
As I write this I am wondering why Toronto’s basketball team is called the Raptors. My wife mentioned that Raptors are actually found in fossilized form in South Dakota, not in Toronto.

One of the reasons that the line hasn’t been published by more books is that the Bulls are dealing with multiple injuries which could effect their lineup. Of course, an injury list for the Bulls wouldn’t be complete without finding one Derrick Rose on it. Rose is dealing with soreness in his hamstring, and even though he was a participant in warmups before their last game with the Knicks, Rose still sat out his second game in a row.

Those games were wins for the Bulls; however, and Chicago won the game before that against these Toronto Raptors, 104-97, with Rose in the game. The Bulls bench players played a big part in the victory, with Tony Snell leading the way with 22 points and Aaron Brooks and Bobby Portis adding 17 and 12 points, respectively. This trend continued in Chicago’s last game against the Knicks, as bench players Portis and Nikola Mirotic were fantastic and ended up closing the fourth quarter out, leaving starters Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson on the bench.

In that game, Kyle Lowry was the standout for the Raptors, as he played over 40 minutes on the floor. Lowry scored 28 points while adding six rebounds and nine assists.

Toronto is coming off of a New Year’s Day win as well, a 104-94 effort against the Charlotte Hornets at home. While the Bulls outscored the Knicks 31-8 in the fourth quarter of their game on Friday, Toronto almost did as well, outscoring the Hornets 31-12 in the fourth quarter of their game. DeMar DeRozan was the hero for the Raptors against Charlotte, logging 23 points and going a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line. The team also had a great rebounding effort, outscoring the Hornets on the boards 54-43.

Early Sunday morning now and there is still no O/U total posted for this game. I guess that means we should concentrate our efforts on the side, but that’s ok, as I see some value on taking the road underdog in this one.

 

Final Analysis
With these teams meeting just six days ago, and Chicago winning that game by seven points, I don’t see enough of a catalyst to suggest that trend will change to the tune of a ten-point swing in Toronto’s direction. We also have some recent strong betting form to follow in taking Chicago, as they are 5-0 SU and 5-0 ATS when playing the Raptors. This also includes a mark of 4-1 ATS when playing Toronto on the road. Derrick Rose didn’t play much of a factor in the last game either, so I think bettors should take advantage of any line moves towards Toronto should he be ruled out of the game. But as it is, I’m taking the Bulls as the NBA pick.