Chicago Bulls (40-42) at Toronto Raptors (41-41)
Game Info: Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. EST (Scotiabank Arena)
Betting Odds: Raptors (-5) / Over/Under (214.5)
Pick: Raptors (-5)
In what will be a surefire emotional matchup for DeMar DeRozan playing against his former squad in the Playoffs, let's take a look at a matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors inside of Scotiabank Arena.
Chicago was able to squeak into the Play-In Tournament as the 10-seed inside of the Eastern Conference, finishing with a 40-42 record. Now, they will cross the border and head into the raucous Toronto crowd to try and conquer their Eastern Conference foe. The Bulls were led heavily by the trio of Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic on the offensive side of the ball all season long. The three of them combined for over 65+ PPG during the regular season and will be looking to continue on that good form as they head into Postseason play. Although DeRozan has played back in his old stomping grounds several times since leaving the Raptors a few years back, this will surely mean more to him than the past encounters as it will be in the Playoffs for the first time. If the Bulls want any chance of advancing and playing the Miami Heat the following game to have a chance to punch their ticket to the next round, they will need DeRozan to be at his best on both sides of the ball.
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Toronto has been a bit of a hard book to read this year. Although they have an extremely talented roster, they have gone through several stretches this season that have questioned whether they would make it in as a top-10 seed by the end of the year. They are led by superstar forward, Pascal Siakam, who has averaged 24.2 PTS, 7.8 REB, and 5.8 AST this campaign. Amid one of the best seasons in his career, he will look to dominate the paint against a Chicago squad that lacks the interior firepower to limit him at the rim. Nevertheless, this game will be decided by whether or not the Raptors can utilize O.G. Anunoby in the right way to stifle the Bulls' leading guards. If Nick Nurse can come up with a successful game plan in defending his basket, the Raptors will love their chances in advancing toward playing the Heat in Miami.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- The Raptors are 21-12-1 ATS as the home favorite
- Toronto is 25-15-1 ATS as the home team
- The under is 35-17 in Conference matchups for the Bulls
- The under is 10-5 when Chicago is playing on 2-3 days of rest
This line opened up with the Raptors being favored by 4.5, but has since jumped up a whole point to the 5.5 range. I am fully on board with the line movement as well, with my eyes being set on the Raptors being able to handle their business on their home court on Wednesday night. I expect Anunoby to defend the main ball handler in crunch time to force the Bulls into contested shots. This will be the difference in this one as the Raptors take home the win by a few baskets!
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