The Toronto Raptors continue to be one of the hardest teams to figure out in the NBA.
The Raps should have been in for an emotional letdown after losing a game in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, a game they should have won. So, of course, they stymie the Philadelphia 76ers and beat them in a defensive battle without Fred VanVleet on the floor.
Do the Raptors have value as live road underdogs against a struggling Chicago Bulls team? Or will the back-to-back be too much? Find out in our free NBA betting picks and predictions for Raptors vs. Bulls on March 21.
Raptors vs Bulls odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Raptors opened this Eastern Conference matchup as 4-point road dogs and the early money faded them to 4.5. But then, Toronto saw enough action to move down to 3.5. Since then, the line has returned to the opening number.
Meanwhile, the total hit the board at 225.5 and the Under has been steadily hammered since then, moving the number all the way down to 221.5.
Raptors vs Bulls predictions
- Prediction: Raptors +4 (-110)
- Prediction: Under 221.5 (-110)
- Best bet: Scottie Barnes Over 24.5 pts + rebs (-115)
Predictions made on 3/21/2022 at 3:30 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: Monday, March 21, 2022
• Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: NBCS-Chicago, TSN
Raptors vs Bulls betting preview
Raptors: Fred VanVleet PG (Questionable), Gary Trent Jr. SG (Out), OG Anunoby SF (Out).
Bulls: Lonzo Ball PG (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Raptors are 6-0 against the spread in their last six games while the Bulls have had trouble lately putting up solid back-to-back performances, going 0-7 ATS in their last seven games following a straight-up loss. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Bulls.
Raptors vs Bulls picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
It would have been completely understandable if the Raptors put up a disappointing performance against the 76ers on Sunday night.
They gave away a game to the Lakers they should have won and then they decided to sit All-Star Fred VanVleet in order to rest his ailing knee. But then the Raps gave one of their best defensive performances of the season, holding probable MVP Joel Embiid and the Sixers to just 88 points.
So, what will the Raptors have in store for us tonight, this time as four-point pups?
Well, for starters, while it sounds like VanVleet will suit up for this matchup, the Raptors will be without another starter as Gary Trent Jr. will sit out with a toe injury.
Luckily, for the Raptors, they’ve taken their team defense to another level lately. Over the last seven games — where they've gone 6-1 straight up — the Raps rank seventh in defensive rating and remain one of the league leaders in steals.
They will need that tenacious defense going against a Bulls team with no shortage of scoring options. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine have been outstanding this season but the Bulls may have peaked a little early.
Chicago is just 3-8 SU and 2-9 ATS since the All-Star break thanks to an offense that has taken a major step back. The Bulls rank 26th in offensive rating over that stretch. And it’s a problem if the Bulls are inefficient on offense because their 21st-ranked defense has been a problem all year.
If VanVleet is on the court, he will cause headaches for a Bulls team that struggles against opposing guards. That mixed with the play of Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, who are both matchup nightmares for the Bulls, and we’re going to have to side with the underdog here.
Prediction: Raptors +4 (-110)
At first glance, a total in the low 220s range might feel like an autobet to the Over when the Bulls are involved. But hold your horses before you go running to the betting window.
As noted, the Bulls offense has hit a slump. They are putting up just 108.5 points per game over 11 contests since the All-Star break. That is fourth-worst over that stretch. They also rank 23rd in effective field goal percentage in that span.
And the Raptors are not the type of defense to get right against. They are scrappy, relentless, can switch all over the floor, and create a ton of turnovers.
Meanwhile, even though the Raps get a good matchup against a shaky Bulls defense, they still rank an even worse 29th in effective field goal percentage since the ASG and will be missing two key offensive pieces in Trent and OG Anunoby.
That should be enough to keep this game below the number.
Prediction: Under 221.5 (-110)
We briefly spoke about the play of Scottie Barnes and it has been something to behold. The Raps rookie has come on strong in the second half, winning Rookie of the Month in February, and has been on an absolute tear since the ASG.
He is averaging 19.3 points while shooting 54.2% from the floor while adding 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game in the 14 games since coming out of the break. So, yeah. He’s done it all for Toronto.
Now, Barnes gets a great matchup against a Bulls team that really doesn’t match up well against his size and athleticism. He should be primed for another big game. His points + rebounds total of 24.5 is a number he’s gone Over nine times in the last 14 games.
Pick: Scottie Barnes Over 24.5 points + rebounds (-115)
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