Bulls vs. Raptors Pick
Chicago finished last season 41-41 to secure the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, where it lost in six games to the Celtics. Toronto was 51-31 to earn the third seed and advanced to the conference semifinals before losing to the Cavaliers. The Bulls won two of three meetings straight up last season and covered the spread in all three games. Chicago has won ATS in the last seven meetings in Toronto.
The Bulls are in rebuild mode following the offseason trade of star Jimmy Butler. Injuries are also depleting Chicago, the latest being Nikola Mirotic (10.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), who was injured in a fight during practice with teammate Bobby Portis. Mirotic, the Bulls' leading returning scorer, is out an estimated 4-to-6 weeks. Portis plus a pair of players acquired in the Butler trade, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, are also out with injuries.
Toronto is once again led by the guard duo of Kyle Lowry (22.4 ppg, 7.0 apg) and Demar DeRozan (27.3 ppg). Expect the Raptors to once again be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, although there is nothing indicating they have the chops to take Cleveland off its throne.
The over is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings.
It's difficult to even name a handful of healthy, active players on the Bulls roster right now. As long as Toronto doesn't screw around, which it won't with this being the season opener, this game should get ugly fast. Laying that many points is always difficult in the NBA, but this contest has extreme circumstance. Go with Toronto.
NBA DAILY PREDICTION: TORONTO RAPTORS -13.5