Bulls vs. Raptors Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
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The Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors had excellent second halves and find themselves in the first leg of the NBA’s Play-In Tournament on Wednesday evening. Toronto took two of three against the Bulls during the regular season, including the most recent meeting in February. The Raptors have earned the right to be favored here at home.
The Bulls have had an excellent defense all year, but they closed the season on a particularly impressive note. The seventh-best unit, according to the efficiency ratings, allowed the fewest points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break (just 110.1 per game). Interestingly, the Bulls actually had a higher defended field goal percentage against 3’s in the second half, but countered that with a solid 58.3% rate inside of 10 feet.
In the negative column, Chicago ranked 23rd in rebounding rate in the second half and was just 15th offensively. Chicago is not a very good shooting team and ranks around the middle of the NBA in 3-point success rate. It also takes 3’s at the second-lowest frequency in the NBA. Instead, this team has feasted on the mid-range jumper, shooting a solid 46.7% from that area — fourth in the NBA. It makes sense given the scoring load DeMar DeRozan takes on, but it’s worth mentioning here.
The one game Chicago won in this season series saw both teams shoot 32.1% from 3 and saw the Bulls absolutely smoke the Raptors on the glass, 49-31. That was likely due to the fact that Christian Koloko got into foul trouble, and Chris Boucher played just 14 minutes behind him. In the other two meetings, the Raptors won handily on the glass.
So, we’ve shown that the Raptors rebound better than the Bulls. Not only did Toronto display that in the two meetings it won, but the Raptors also ranked 15th in the NBA after the break, grabbing 50.4% of available rebounds. I always like to note rebounding numbers come playoff time because it seems to be a deciding factor with most matchups this time of year being relatively even, and the shooting numbers leveling out.
Another interesting nugget is that Toronto was able to win the final meeting between these teams despite Fred VanVleet having an awful 1-for-11 shooting night.
The Bulls had the best defense in the NBA after the break, but the Raptors weren’t far behind and finished fifth. However, Chicago also struggled on offense, scoring 114.7 points per 100 possessions, a few spots below Chicago in 18th.
Far be it for me to handicap games based on one specific aspect, but I’d like to point out that while the Bulls love to shoot the mid-range jumper, Toronto had a solid 42.7% mark defending the shot this season. On top of that, we’ve touched on the rebounding discrepancy.
Now, Toronto doesn’t shoot the 3 all that well and likes to score inside, but the Bulls will welcome that with one of the best interior defenses in the NBA.
Toronto is excellent at defending Chicago’s go-to offensive weapon. The Raptors have taken care of the ball and forced turnovers better than anyone in the NBA and have also has proven to be a much better rebounding team than Chicago. In front of a raucous home crowd, I expect the Raptors to win handily. Lay up to six points.
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