The tenth seed Bulls head to Toronto to take on the ninth seed Raptors in the second of three Eastern Conference NBA play-in games. The game is expected to tip-off at 07:00 PM ET, Wednesday, April 12th, 2023.
It is must win situation for both teams, as both teams fight to progress to the final Eastern Conference play-in game against the Heat but the Raptors are a substantial 5.5 point favorites.
The Raptors come into this game with a 26-26 record against Eastern Conference teams. Led by Jakob Poeltl, who averages 3.3 offensive rebounds per game, Toronto boasts an impressive 12.7 offensive rebounds per game, making them the Eastern Conference leaders in this category. They will be looking to take advantage of their rebounding prowess to gain a decisive edge over the Bulls.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have a 27-25 record in Eastern Conference play and rank ninth in the NBA in defensive rebounds per game with 33.9, led by Nikola Vucevic who averages 9.1 rebounds per game. Chicago will be looking to dominate the boards and shut down the Raptors’ rebounding game to secure a shot at the playoffs.
Forward Pascal Siakam has been one of the top performers for the Raptors, averaging 24.2 points per game and shooting an impressive 48 percent from the field. OG Anunoby has also been on fire from beyond the arc, averaging 2.4 made 3-pointers in their last 10 games. The Raptors will rely heavily on Siakam and Anunoby to lead the way on the offensive end.
The Bulls, on the other hand, have a dynamic duo in Vucevic and Zach LaVine. Vucevic is averaging 17.6 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, while LaVine is averaging 21.9 points over the last 10 games for Chicago. The Bulls will be counting on these two to provide the necessary firepower to outscore the Raptors.
In their last 10 games, the Raptors have gone 6-4, averaging 112.6 points, 43.6 rebounds, 26.1 assists, 10.1 steals, and 5.6 blocks per game while shooting 47.0% from the field. Meanwhile, the Bulls have also gone 6-4, averaging 112.8 points, 40.1 rebounds, 26.5 assists, 9.3 steals, and 4.7 blocks per game while shooting an impressive 50.3% from the field.
This game promises to be an intense battle between two talented teams fighting for their playoff lives. With everything on the line, expect both teams to leave it all on the court in what should be a thrilling contest.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
Based on this matchup between the Raptors and the Bulls, the Raptors appear to have a clear advantage. The Bulls rely heavily on their wing players, LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, to generate offense, but the Raptors have two elite wing defenders in Anunoby and Scottie Barnes who can make life difficult for them.
In addition to their perimeter defense, the Raptors also have length and quickness on the defensive end, which can cause problems for the Bulls’ guards when they drive to the rim. Siakam and Chris Boucher are two more defenders who can use their length to take away easy shots at the rim.
On the offensive end, the Raptors have a clear advantage in the post, where the Bulls lack a viable option to stop Siakam. Even when the Bulls go bigger, rookie Patrick Williams will likely struggle to contain Siakam.
The Raptors have already won the season series against the Bulls and won both matchups at home. Given their advantages on both ends of the court, it’s likely that the Raptors will win and cover the spread in this matchup, regardless of it being an Eastern Conference Play-in game.
Therefore, we recommend betting on the Raptors to win and cover. However, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that this Raptors defense will stop shots from falling, nor that the Bulls wont come into this game with a gameplan to shutdown Siakam. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.
Spread: Raptors -5.5
Moneyline: Raptors -210, Bulls+176
Pick: Raptors -5.5
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