Chicago looks pretty good heading into the October 25th Bulls at Raptors matchup. Billy Donovan’s squad has started the season 3-0 and travel to face a 1-2 Toronto squad on Monday night. The Raptors do have a win in Boston on the season, but are 0-2 at Scotiabank Arena on the year.
The revamped Bulls are just -1.5 favorites on Monday night, a number that seems low with all the talent Chicago has assembled. Big man Nikola Vucevic (illness) is questionable for the meeting with the Raptors still have a lot surrounding him even if that is a big absence in the post. 78% of public betting is backing the Bulls which is never a good thing.
Bulls Meshing Nicely
Chicago made two big acquisitions in the offseason in bringing in Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. So far so good as the Bulls are off to a 3-0 start, but two of those wins have come against Detroit and one vs. a Zion Williamson-less Pelicans team. Ball had a triple double with 17/10/10 against his old team the Pelicans on Friday, and now it’s DeRozan’s turn as he spent 2009-2018 with the Raptors.
Ball is still waiting to find his groove with the Bulls as he’s averaging 14.0 ppg and 5.0 apg, but DeRozan is thriving as a secondary scorer putting up 21.3 ppg. Opponents are focusing on Zach LaVine, who has a couple of 30+ point games this season.
If Vucevic can’t go that does hurt Chicago in the October 25th Bulls at Raptors game, as he is averaging 12.7 rebounds/game this season. Chicago will likely go with a small ball lineup in his absence, which is what Toronto likes to do as well.
Toronto In Line for the Upset?
The Raptors are beginning their season without Pascal Siakam who is on the shelf until next month with a shoulder injury. With Siakam injured and the trade of Kyle Lowry in the offseason this is now undisputedly Fred VanVleet’s team and he has had some ups and downs being the #1 scoring option. VanVleet is averaging just 14.3 ppg through the first week of the season.
One of the bright sides of VanVleet’s quiet start to the year is that it has allowed other players to step up, mainly rookie Scottie Barnes who had 25 points and 13 rebounds in the win over the Celtics. Barnes is averaging 18/10 on the season and could really take advantage of Vucevic missing in the post for Chicago.
Precious Achiuwa came over from Miami in the Lowry trade and is making the most of starter minutes averaging 10.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game on the year. OG Anunoby had 23 points on Saturday in the loss to Dallas so Toronto has more upside than their 1-2 record would indicate.
October 25th Bulls at Raptors Pick
Chicago looks like the easy play here on paper even if Vucevic perhaps doesn’t play. LaVine has been great to start the season and it’s always special when DeRozan comes back to Toronto, a place where he is revered even after heading to San Antonio for the last couple seasons.
Sometimes you have to read the line though, and even though Chicago is 3-0 the Bulls -1.5 is telling us to go the other way. The Bulls are the 3rd most popular public bet in Monday’s NBA slate yet the line has moved in the opposite direction from the TOR +2.5 open.
Bulls 103 – Raptors 115
Free Pick: Raptors +1.5