Raptors vs Bulls Picks and Predictions: Toronto Takes Advantage of Chicago's Matador D

The Toronto Raptors continue to be among the NBA's most confusing teams and enter Wednesday potentially without two key players. In a matchup with the Bulls, however, Toronto can exploit Chicago's D as NBA betting underdogs.

Andrew Caley - Senior Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Andrew Caley • Senior Betting Analyst
Jan 26, 2022 • 15:19 ET • 4 min read
Gary Trent Jr. Toronto Raptors NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The weird run of Toronto Raptors basketball games continued last night as they thumped the Charlotte Hornets without Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes, but can they carry that momentum into tonight’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls?

Injuries have caused Chicago to hit a speed bump lately but it's coming off a win and has Zach LaVine back. Is that enough to cover as short home chalk against a Toronto team playing its second game in as many nights?

Find out in our free NBA betting picks and predictions for Raptors vs. Bulls on January 26.

Raptors vs Bulls odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Raptors opened this Eastern Conference matchup as 4-point road underdogs and that’s where the numbers sits as of Wednesday afternoon. The total hit the board at 216.5 and early bettors have jumped on the Over moving the line to 219.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Raptors vs Bulls predictions

Predictions made on 1/26/2022 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Raptors vs Bulls game info

Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet 1, NBCS-Chicago

Raptors vs Bulls betting preview


Raptors: Fred VanVleet PG (Out), Khem Birch C (Out).
Bulls: Nikola Vucevic C (Questionable), Lonzo Ball PG (Out), Alex Caruso SG (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 7-0 in the Raptors' last seven games against a team with a winning record and is 5-2-1 in the Bulls' last eight games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Bulls.

Raptors vs Bulls picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Raptors look like one of the most unpredictable teams going in the NBA at the moment.

They lose four of five, with three losses by five points or fewer, but win against the Bucks. Then they take out the Wizards but fall flat on their face against the Blazers as 8-point favorites. Then, they crush the Hornets without two of their best players in VanVleet and Barnes.

So, how do you predict what this Raptors team will do? Well, let’s try our best.

For starters, VanVleet and Barnes are both still questionable for this matchup, and being down two key players on a roster that is already limited when it comes to NBA talent is unideal, but the Raptors showed in the win over the Hornets that no matter who is on the court they are a well-coached bunch by Nick Nurse.

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been dealing with a multitude of injuries lately and it has cost them. The Bulls have led the Eastern Conference for much of the season, but after a stretch that has seen them drop six of their last eight games, they have fallen to second.

That said, LaVine did return to the lineup in the Bulls' last game, leading his team to a 1-point victory over the Thunder in a game where DeMar DeRozan grabbed some rest. Both are expected to play in this matchup. 

While that will help the Bulls score, it’s their defense that has been a problem. They rank 23rd in defensive rating over their last 10 games and have really struggled to stop opposing guards, ranking dead last in the NBA in opponent guard scoring.

That could mean a big day for the Raptors’ guards. If VanVleet is able to go, watch out, as this will be a homecoming for the future All-Star. 

The Raptors also play well in back-to-back situations, going 6-0 ATS in their last six games when playing their second game in as many nights.

Yes, Toronto is an unpredictable bunch, but as road dogs against a good team on a back-to-back? It's supposed to lose that. So, of course, that means we'll lean towards taking the points.

Prediction: Raptors +4 (-110)

When it comes to the total, the early money has sided with the Over, but the number still may not be high enough for this matchup.

The Raptors' offense can certainly be inconsistent. That’s what will happen when you rank 26th in eFG% and 22nd in scoring. But as you saw in the game against the Hornets, even without some of their best players, they can take advantage of a bad defense, and that’s what the Bulls are right now.

Not only do the Bulls rank 25th in defensive rating over the last 10 games but they also rank 23rd in opponent scoring. Also during this slump, the Bulls have been turning over the ball too much, ranking 20th in the NBA over that span and going against a Raptors defense that is one of the best in the NBA at causing deflections and steals which allow them to get out and run in transition.

At the same time, the Raptors' defense doesn’t give up a ton of points but is definitely vulnerable. They rank 15th in defensive rating and 27th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage. That is not a recipe for success against a Bulls team that is the best 3-point shooting team in the NBA.

Expect both teams to do enough scoring to send this one Over the number.

Prediction: Over 219 (-110)

Now, if VanVleet was guaranteed to play this game I’m sure we would hammer some prop for him, considering the Bulls' issues with opposing guards. With his status up in the air, we’ll turn our attention to another Raps guard, Gary Trent Jr.

Trent went off in VanVleet’s absence last night, pouring in 32 points on 11-21 shooting, including 5-10 from 3-point range against the Hornets. He’ll get more of the same opportunities against the Bulls tonight whether VanVleet plays or not.

Trent is obviously a streaky shooter but is averaging 18.5 points on 41.9% shooting over his last six games. He also put up 18 in the Raptors' earlier meeting against the Bulls this season. Look for him to keep letting it fly in this matchup.

Pick: Gary Trent Jr. Over 17.5 points (-120)

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