The Toronto Raptors are 1-0 in the Darko Rajaković era after grinding out a 97-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in their season and home opener on Wednesday night, and now they’ll be put to the test in their first road contest of the season in Chicago on Friday.
Raptors players doused Rajaković, who earned a victory in his head-coaching debut, with ice water in the dressing room following the spirited win over a solid Timberwolves team.
Bet on Raptors vs. Bulls
Chicago, meanwhile, opened the season with a disappointing 124-104 home loss to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday after closing as a 2.5-point favourite in the contest.
The Raptors are two-point underdogs at bet365 and the total is set at 216.5 points.
Raptors vs. Bulls odds
|Raptors Moneyline Odds||+115|
|Bulls Moneyline Odds||-135|
|Over/Under||216.5 points (over -110, under -110)|
|Time/Date||Friday, Oct. 27, 8:00 p.m. ET|
|TV||Broadcast: TSN 4/5|
Stream: NBA League Pass
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About the Raptors (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 o/u)
The Raptors will play three games in four days beginning on Friday night in Chicago. They’ll jet home to Toronto following Friday night’s contest to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, and then the Portland Trail Blazers will roll into town for a contest on Monday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Point guard Dennis Schroder impressed in his Raptors debut on Wednesday, scoring 22 points and dishing out seven assists in 33 minutes. His quickness and ability to distribute the basketball paid immediate dividends for the Raptors, who gave a spirited effort to help Rajaković notch his first victory as an NBA head coach.
All five Raptors starters posted solid stat lines in the season opener: O.G. Anunoby scored 20 points, Scottie Barnes put up 17 points and blocked five shots, Pascal Siakam scored 15 points, and Jakob Poeltl notched seven points while hauling in 11 rebounds.
It’s worth noting that Chris Boucher didn’t see the floor on Wednesday due to a coach’s decision. Rajaković revealed postgame that he talked to Boucher prior to the season opener about how the forward can get back into the team’s rotation moving forward. For now, he’s on the outside looking in despite averaging 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 76 games last season while playing an average of 20 minutes per game.
About the Bulls (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, 1-0 o/u)
The Thunder outscored the Bulls 45-26 over the final 15-plus minutes of the game on Wednesday. DeMar DeRozan led the team with 20 points and Zach LaVine scored 16 points on just 4-of-16 shooting. As a team, the Bulls shot a miserable 12-for-42 (28.5%) from long range. Chicago managed just eight fast-break points and created next to nothing in transition in the lopsided loss to upstart Oklahoma City.
The Bulls are also playing three games in four days beginning Friday, but they’ll hit the road for the final two games of the stretch with stops in Detroit and Indiana.
A projected playoff bubble team this season, Chicago will want to avoid an early slump to silence any talk about potentially blowing the veteran team up. DeRozan is a free agent at the end of the season and title contenders will be keeping close tabs on his trade availability should the Bulls fall quickly out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference this season.
Dennis Schroder over 12.5 points
Raptors centre Christian Koloko (respiratory illness) will miss his second straight game. Chicago has no new injuries but will be without guard Lonzo Ball (knee) for the remainder of the season.
- The Bulls are 5-0 SU and 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings between the teams in Chicago.
- The Bulls have won seven of the past 10 meetings between the teams.
- The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings between the teams.
Player prop trends
- Siakam has recorded at least one steal in each of his past six games (spanning back to last season including the play-in game against Chicago), averaging two per game during that span. He’s a steep -220 to record over 0.5 steals in this one, but it could be a useful leg in a parlay.
- Patrick Williams has also been thriving in the steals category, recording thefts in five straight games (including play-in contests) dating back to last season. He’s -230 to notch a steal against Toronto.
- LaVine has been helping on the boards recently, averaging 4.4 rebounds per game dating back to last season (including play-in games). He’s -140 to record over 3.5 rebounds.
Wagers to consider
- Boosted SGP – Raptors to win, Barnes to score 15 or more points, Schroder to record seven or more assists: +750. The Raptors seem empowered by their new head coach as evidenced by the joyous celebration following their season-opening win and that momentum should carry over to this game. Barnes put on 10 lbs of muscle during the offseason, and it appears he’ll feature more prominently offensively this season under Rajaković. And Schroder has just been on an absolute heater since his impressive performance at the FIBA World Cup. We’re getting good value here after bet365 boosted this parlay to +750 from +625.
- Bulls team total under 109.5 points: -115. Chicago put up just 104 points on the Thunder on Wednesday, and now it’ll be facing a much tougher opponent on the defensive end in Toronto. I like the Raptors to hold them to around 105 points in this one. The Bulls, who are basically running it back with a similar roster this season, averaged 113.2 points per game last year, which ranked 22nd in the league. But all of their veterans are another year older and slower, and they looked awful in transition on Wednesday.
- Schroder over 12.5 points: -150. He’s playing with extreme confidence right now and put up 22 points (4-of-8 from downtown) in the opener. He might even be worth a look to score 20 points or more at a juicy +390 given how he’s performed over the summer and now into the NBA regular season.