The beat rolled on last night with our fourth NBA cover in five games thanks to the Pacers very easy win in Charlotte. Tonight, we will again shift our focus to a road favorite taking on a bad team playing on the back-end of a back-to-back. It feels like the recipe for another cover, but let’s dig inside the numbers a bit and see if we can get a good winning edge.
Chicago Bulls -4 at Toronto Raptors (Total: 183.5)
The last time we saw the Chicago Bulls they were smothering the Atlanta Hawks into one of the worst first half performances in the shot clock era of the NBA. Atlanta tallied just 20 points in the first 24 minutes, en route to a 98-59 loss. Coach Thibs has always had a reputation as a defensive coach, but not many teams in the history of the NBA have done that to an opponent; especially one that is easily in line for a playoff berth!
I don’t think they will able to ratchet up quite the same defensive effort and result tonight, but given the way the Raptors play (or don’t play) defense; they allow 98.8 ppg on average, so the likely they won’t need quite the same stifling dominance. The Raptors do have a decent young offense, but are going to really struggle to find quality open looks and easy shots against Chicago’s defense.
Another big factor is the fact that Toronto played last night (113-106 loss) at Brooklyn, while the Bulls had a nice days rest. That basically statistically negates the home court advantage, which then begs the question, ‘are the Bulls really only four points better than Toronto??’
I’d say absolutely not.
Chicago is 3-1 against opponents in a similar days rest situation, and have generally taken advantage of weary opponents who come out flat (ask Atlanta). Toronto meanwhile is actually a bit better than one would expect on short rest, 5-4 overall, which is a pretty decent mark considering this is a 14-24 team.
Toronto is actually a pretty decent team at home this year as well. They enter tonight at a respectable 10-8, a good step in the right direction for one of the NBA’s youngest teams. I generally like undervalued teams with poor overall records yet good home records. It has gotten us some easy wins this season with teams like Indiana (not anymore, the lines have caught up), Portland, Denver and Utah. However, tonight has an interesting wrinkle that next to no other NBA team can boast.
Chicago is actually BETTER on the road this season, both ATS and straight up. They are 10-5 straight up on the road this season. Add in the rest factor, the fat that Chicago plays very well on the road, and the piling injuries the Raptors are dealing with (Kyle Lowry is questionable for tonight’s game as well), and it is just too much to ignore. I love the Bulls tonight on the road, and think four points is a more than reasonable price to pay to take them tonight.
Free Pick: Chicago Bulls -4