We’ve got an Eastern Conference clash as the Toronto Raptors (23-22, 10-10 Away) are in the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls (29-17, 16-6 Home) inside United Center on Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm EST.
This marks just the second meeting of the season between the two teams after separate COVID-19 outbreaks postponed two scheduled games in mid-December.
Chicago won the only other matchup, beating the Raptors in Toronto back on October 25, their fourth straight win to start the 2021-22 campaign.
Toronto Raptors Preview
The Raptors enter Wednesday night’s action sitting in 8th place in the East, a game above .500 and just percentage points ahead of Boston, having played four less games than the Celtics. Toronto will be on the second half of a back-to-back, coming off a 12-point win over Charlotte at home on Tuesday night.
In the win over the Hornets, Pascal Siakam matched a career-high with 12 assists, while Gary Trent, Jr matched a season-high with 32 points. The two picked up the slack for Fred VanVleet (out with a knee injury) and Scottie Barnes (out with a wrist injury).
VanVleet and Barnes will accompany the team as they embark on a three-game road trip, but it is unclear yet whether either will play. It’s an important stretch for Nick Nurse’s group, who will play 11 of their next 15 games away from home.
Chicago Bulls Preview
The Bulls can certainly sympathize with the Raptors’ injury issues, as Chicago has been hit hard of late as well. Chicago has dropped six of their last eight and will be without Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and now Derrick Jones Jr. for the foreseeable future.
Jones had been missing since January 12 with a right knee issue but fractured a finger at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday and will be shut down for at least six more weeks.
Star guard DeMar DeRozan rested on Monday as well, leaving the Bulls extremely short-handed against Oklahoma City. However, Nik Vucevic, Zach LaVine and company helped withstand a furious Thunder rally to hold on for a one-point victory. Chicago remains in second place in the East but sits above Brooklyn and Milwaukee by just a half a game.
Raptors at Bulls Betting Lines & Pick
- Spread: Bulls -4.5
- Moneyline: Raptors +148 | Bulls -176
- Over/Under: 219
Both coaches have had to make considerable adjustments lately, seeing how each team’s primary ball-handler and floor general have been on the sidelines. VanVleet’s status will be key to monitor, as the veteran’s return would give Toronto a spark and an edge matched up against Bulls’ rookie Ayo Dosunmu. You can bet he’ll do everything in his power to suit up in his hometown.
The Illinois product did step up with a career-high 24 in the team’s win over OKC, and LaVine’s return was much-needed for a spiraling Chicago team that was once at the top of the conference.
However, Chicago is 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games as a favorite, while Toronto is a remarkable 6-0 ATS in their last six on the back half of a back-to-back. We’ll gladly take the points on a team that is 15-5 ATS in their last 20 overall.
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