The Toronto Raptors will face off against the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference showdown at United Center in Chicago, Illinois, this Saturday night. They will meet each other for the fourth time this season, and the Raptors lead the series 3-0, but the Bulls have covered the spread on the previous two occasions. Still, the Bulls will be quite short-handed on this one which will make their job even more difficult. NBA: Saturday, March 30, 2019, United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 8:00 PM ET
The Raptors are looking for their third straight win
The Toronto Raptors (53-23; 32-43-1 ATS) are coming off a 117-92 victory at the New York Knicks this past Thursday, recording their second straight win and third over their last five outings. The Raptors had an easy job at Madison Square Garden even though Kawhi Leonard had a day off. Pascal Siakam had a big game, accounting for 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field to go with five boards and five assists. The Raptors made 20 of their 47 attempts from beyond the 3-point line, as the Knicks gave them too much space. Toronto will almost certainly stay at the second spot of the Eastern Conference standings, as the Raptors are four games behind Milwaukee and four and a half games ahead of Philadelphia.
Kawhi Leonard is leading the Raptors this season, averaging 27.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. The Claw is still questionable for tonight’s game, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he misses the clash with the hapless Bulls. Pascal Siakam is tallying 17.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per contest, while Kyle Lowry is adding 14.6 points and 8.8 dimes per outing. The Raptors are scoring 112.8 points per 100 possessions (7th in the league) on 47.3% shooting from the field (5th) and 36.1% from beyond the arc (7th), allowing 107.3 points in a return (5th) on 45.0% shooting from the field (7th).
The Bulls are just playing out the string
The Chicago Bulls (21-55; 34-41-1 ATS) are on a three-game losing streak following a 118-98 defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers this past Wednesday. The short-handed Bulls just couldn’t cope with a tough Blazers’ defense, making 42.9% of their field goals and just 21.7% of their 3-pointers. Rookie guard Shaquille Harrison had a good game, posting a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Robin Lopez added 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. The Bulls will finish the season without Lauri Markkanen (rest), Otto Porter (rotator cuff), and Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb). Kris Dunn (back) won’t suit up tonight, while Zach LaVine (thigh) is listed as questionable.
With all their key players sidelined, the Bulls will have to rely a lot on Robin Lopez, Wayne Selden, and Ryan Arcidiacono. Lopez is averaging 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game over his last ten outings. Selden is tallying 10.7 points and 4.0 boards per contest in his last ten games, while Arcidiacono is averaging 6.3 points and 3.3 assists per game this season. The Bulls are scoring 105.0 points per 100 possessions (29th in the league) on 45.4% shooting from the field (18th) and 35.4% from beyond the arc (13th), surrendering 113.0 points in a return (25th) on 47.2% shooting from the field (27th).
- 12-5 ATS in the previous 17 Saturday games
- Over is 13-4 in the last 17 meetings with Chicago
- 4-14 SU and ATS in the last 18 games at home
- 2-9 SU and 3-8 ATS in the last 11 meetings with the Atlantic Division
The Winner Prediction
The Raptors shouldn’t have any problems to thrash off the Bulls tonight, although they are struggling to cover all season long. However, the Bulls are terrible against the spread at home and will be without their best players tonight, so I don’t think they can stay close to the Raptors who need a couple of wins more to clinch the No. 2 seed in the East. Hereof, I’m backing the Raptors to cover.
The Pick: Toronto Raptors ATS