Raptors vs. Bulls: Big Night for DeRozan vs. Former Team?

Eddie Griffin

Led by coach Dwane Casey and the duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the Toronto Raptors became a consistent winner in the previous decade. Across several successful seasons, they built the foundation for their eventual NBA Finals win three years ago.

Casey was not a part of that title-winning team, as he was fired and replaced by then-assistant Nick Nurse after the 2017-18 season. Despite winning Coach of the Year, another playoff exit short of the Finals spelled his end.

DeRozan was not on that team either, as he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. It was a painful move but a necessary one for the Raptors to fulfill their prodigious potential.

After three seasons in San Antonio, DeRozan left the Spurs this past offseason to sign with the Chicago Bulls. And just like he did with Lowry in Toronto, DeRozan has formed another formidable duo that is trying to take the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Through COVID and injury absences for all of their key players, including DeRozan and Zach LaVine, the Bulls have kept themselves in a prominent position in the NBA standings all season long and are only a half-game out of top spot in the East.

A big reason for their success is DeRozan producing at MVP level and gelling perfectly with LaVine. With his play and cohesion with LaVine and his new team, DeRozan is defying the thought by many that his signing would not work out for Chicago.

Tonight, DeRozan faces his former team for the second time this season as the Bulls host the Raptors. Playing a former team can be an emotional occasion, which can throw some players off of their game. DeRozan, however, should have a big game tonight.

Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls Matchup Info and Betting Odds

Matchup Info

  • Game Matchup: Toronto Raptors (23-22, 8th in Eastern Conference) vs. Chicago Bulls (29-17, 2nd in Eastern Conference)
  • Venue & Location: United Center (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Betting Odds

  • Spread: Toronto Raptors +3.5 (-110), Chicago Bulls -3.5 (-110)
  • Total: OVER 219.5 (-110), UNDER 219.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Toronto Raptors +145, Chicago Bulls -175

Odds are via BetMGM.

Small Sample Size Against Raptors Favors Productive Performance for DeRozan

Being in the Western Conference for three seasons means that DeRozan’s opportunities to play against Toronto were limited.

While with the Spurs, he faced the Raptors six times in three seasons. This season, he and the Bulls will face the Raptors four times. Tonight’s game is the second Raptors-Bulls matchup of the season, with the final two coming on February 3 (in Toronto) and March 21 (in Chicago).

When the Bulls visited the Raptors on October 25, DeRozan did not have a great shooting night. He took 19 shots overall but made only seven of them. But he made 2 of 4 from three and was a perfect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line, and he finished with 26 points, five rebounds, and six assists as the Bulls claimed a 111-108 win at Scotiabank Arena.

While he has not played against his former team only seven times, which is eight times fewer than he has played any other team (the Spurs, his other former team, are next at 15 games), the results bode well for him and for NBA prop betting, especially with how he is playing at the moment.

DeRozan was rested for Monday’s one-point road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. But in the three games prior, he tallied 41, 35, and 30 points.

January 2022 & 2021-22 NBA Season Statistics for DeMar DeRozan

  • Points Per Game: 25.1/26.3
  • Rebounds Per Game: 5.0/5.0
  • Assists Per Game: 5.3/4.8
  • FG%: 49.1/49.5

In his first game against the Raptors following the trade to San Antonio, DeRozan posted his only triple-double of his NBA career to date. Since then, he has had several more solid all-around performances against Toronto.

Since it is such a small sample, we have more than enough room to list each performance here.

DeMar DeRozan Against the Toronto Raptors (7 Games)

  • January 3, 2019 (Spurs vs. Raptors): 21 points (7 of 15 FG, 7 of 7 FT), 14 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals
  • February 22, 2019 (Spurs at Raptors): 23 points (7 of 12 FG, 9 of 9 FT), four rebounds, eight assists, two steals
  • January 12, 2020 (Spurs at Raptors): 25 points (7 of 12 FG, 11 of 14 FT), eight rebounds, four assists, two steals
  • January 26, 2020 (Spurs vs. Raptors): 14 points (4 of 9 FG, 0 of 1 3PT, 6 of 6 FT), six rebounds, seven assists
  • December 26, 2020 (Spurs vs. Raptors): 27 points (10 of 17 FG, 3 of 4 3PT, 4 of 5 FT), five rebounds, eight assists, two steals
  • April 14, 2021 (Spurs at Raptors): 19 points (6 of 11 FG, 7 of 9 FT), four rebounds, 11 assists, two steals
  • October 25, 2021 (Bulls at Raptors): 26 points (7 of 19 FG, 2 of 4 3PT, 10 of 10 FT), five rebounds, six assists

Across the seven games, DeRozan is averaging 22.1 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 7.9 assists per game.

His rebound and assist averages are highest against the Raptors, with the next-closest numbers well behind (5.3 rebounds per game in 30 games against the Houston Rockets and 5.4 assists per game in 28 games against the Los Angeles Lakers).

There are only two teams against whom DeRozan has a higher scoring average. He is averaging 23.6 PPG against the Portland Trail Blazers (27 games) and 22.4 PPG against the Miami Heat (38 games). The Compton native and former USC star also averages 22.1 PPG against the hometown Lakers.

Based on his previous performances against the Raptors and his current form, consider any and all DeRozan player props tonight.

DeMar DeRozan Player Props vs. Toronto Raptors

  • Points: OVER 24.5 (-125), UNDER 24.5 (-105)
  • Rebounds: OVER 4.5 (-140), UNDER 4.5 (+105)
  • Assists: OVER 5.5 (-115), UNDER 5.5 (-115)
  • Steals: OVER 0.5 (-115), UNDER 0.5 (-110)
  • Points + Assists: OVER 30.5 (-115), UNDER 30.5 (-115)
  • Points + Rebounds: OVER 29.5 (-120), UNDER 29.5 (-110)
  • Assists + Rebounds: OVER 10.5 (-110), UNDER 10.5 (-120)
  • Points + Rebounds + Assists: OVER 35.5 (-110), UNDER 35.5 (-115)

Based on his numbers against the Raptors and his recent scoring exploits, there is an argument for backing every single one of the listed props. That said, which props stand out the most?

Assists + Rebounds: He has at least 11 assists + rebounds in each previous matchup with the Raptors.

Steals: DeRozan has at least one steal in five games against Toronto. This season, he has at least one steal in 24 of 42 games.

Assists: DeRozan has at least six assists in six games against the Raptors. With LaVine back in action and Nikola Vucevic having his best scoring month–Vucevic is averaging 18.1 PPG and has five 20+ point games in 13 games in January; he averaged 15.8 PPG and had five 20+ point games in his first 26 games in October-December–conditions are favorable for hitting this number again.

Points & Points + Assists: After being rested on Monday, look for a fresh DeRozan to keep his scoring run going against his former team. With LaVine back, he won’t necessarily have to hit the 30-point mark again but look for him to score enough to knock out his points props and do most of the lifting for the points combo props.

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