Raptors vs. Bulls Odds
|Time||8:45 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Toronto Raptors beat the Chicago Bulls, 113-104, on Sunday, but the Bulls will get a chance at redemption right away as they are four-point home favorites on Monday night.
Chicago will likely get Zach LaVine back after he sat out due to injury management in the first half of the back-to-back.
Pascal Siakam is out for the next two weeks, which is a huge loss for the Raptors. Through nine games, Siakam was leading the team in points, rebounds, assists and usage rate. Getting VanVleet back helps soften the blow as he had missed three straight games.
The Raptors are playing very slow and have a stout defense. They rank sixth in both Defensive Rating and slowest pace. Not having Siakam hurts their defense considerably, but they still have enough length on their roster to cause problems for the Bulls offense.
After winning the Rookie of the Year Award last season, Scottie Barnes has picked up right where he left off. He is shooting 50% from the field and 41.9% from behind the arc. Like most Raptors players, Barnes is playing heavy minutes and even posted his first triple-double two games ago.
O.G. Anunoby is another Raptors player who has stepped up with VanVleet and Siakam out. He leads the league with 3.1 steals per game and is averaging 20.3 points and 4.8 steals per game while shooting 53.2% from the field over the past four games. Anunoby will have to play well against the Bulls guards.
The main question is will VanVleet play on the back-to-back? I assume so because, in typical Raptors fashion, he played 39 minutes in his first game back. Anunoby, Barnes and VanVleet will all likely play nearly 40 minutes. Not having Siakam may be a difference maker though.
The Bulls are just 1-3, including their loss to the Raptors on Sunday, in games LaVine has missed. With Lonzo Ball still out, LaVine can’t afford to miss too many games. He will likely be back Monday and is relied upon to provide the spark the Bulls desperately need to get back on track.
Through seven games, LaVine is averaging over 20 points per game for the fifth-straight season. He is shooting a career-high 42.3% from behind the arc. Having LaVine on the floor helps Chicago’s spacing as he has shot nearly double the three-point attempts as the next player. It specifically helps DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan really struggled without LaVine last game as he finished with only 20 points. He shot 7-for-9 from the field, but only had a 19.2% usage rate. This Raptors defense is phenomenal, even without Siakam on the floor. However, having LaVine with opens things up for All-Star center Nikola Vucevic.
Vucevic is averaging a double-double for the sixth-straight season and has had a double-double in five-straight games. He should be able to dominate this smaller frontcourt. Also, with backup center Andre Drummond out, Vucevic will need to play a few more minutes.
Role players Alex Caruso and Goran Dragic played incredible in their increased roles on Sunday. Caruso had a double-double with 11 and 11 assists while Dragic scored 16 points off the bench.
They may have lost by nearly double-digits last night, but returning home and likely getting LaVine back into the lineup is a big plus for the Bulls.
I’ll take the Bulls to cover this spread, but make sure LaVine is actually playing first. Take the Bulls up to six points if VanVleet gets ruled out.
The Raptors found a way to win at home, but not having Siakam for two weeks is going to be a problem. He was playing incredible and I’m not sure if Barnes and Anunoby are ready to take the next step offensively quite yet.
Pick: Chicago Bulls -4 (-110)