Skip to main content

NBA SO/UP Picks and Betting Analysis for Bulls-Knicks, Bucks-Raptors

New York and Chicago meet for the third time this season.

Tuesday didn’t go so well for the SO/UP crowd. But one off night won’t discourage Stephen Curry, who shot poorly against the Suns in a rare loss, and it won’t derail us, either.

We’re back with more picks and a new special guest: SI Coordinating Producer Doug Vazquez.

Let’s get into Thursday’s games.

Season record: 32-28

Guest pickers: 18-36

Check Out the Latest NBA Odds

Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls (14-8) vs. New York Knicks (11-10)

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Spread: Bulls -1.5 (-110) | Knicks +1.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Bulls (-125) | Knicks (+105)

Total: Under 209.5 (-110) | Over 209.5 (-110)

Injuries: Bulls G Coby White—Out; Knicks G R.J. Barrett—Day-to-day

The Bulls are 2-3 in their last five, including an inexplicable loss to the Rockets. Still, Chicago retains the No. 2 seed in the East. These teams have met twice already this season, both times in Chicago, with each team winning one game. The Bulls are anchored by Zach Lavine and DeMar DeRozan, both of whom are averaging better than 25 PPG. Chicago relies heavily on its No. 8 defense (104.6 PPG) in large part thanks to offseason additions Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball. The Bulls offense comes in at No. 12 (109.1 PPG).

The Knicks have alternated wins and losses for each of their last nine games. They lost their most recent game Tuesday against Brooklyn, which would set them up for a win against Chicago. Of course, that pattern is not prescriptive. Regression defensively as a team and offensively for Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett is keeping New York in the middle of the East. The Knicks, once known for their defense, have the 16th-ranked scoring defense (106.4 PPG) and the No. 18 offense (106.5 PPG).

Spread pick: Bulls -1.5

Chicago is in a better place as a team right now than New York. Kemba Walker was recently taken out of NY’s rotation and another starter, Barrett, is battling injury. The Bulls are 14-8 against the spread (ATS) while the Knicks are 10-11. Add in the fact that Chicago is 7-4 on the road while the Knicks are 5-6 at Madison Square Garden, and the Bulls should cover this narrow spread.

SI Recommends

Over/Under pick: Over 209.5

Neither team goes over particularly often—the Bulls do so less than 50% of the time and the Knicks less than 40%—but this is a low enough total that I’m comfortable taking the over. Chicago is fresh off a 133-point outing against Charlotte, and New York clearly isn’t the team they were a season ago on defense. The Bulls can score 110 in this game with relative ease and as long as New York isn’t held under triple-digits, this game goes over.

Prop: Nikola Vucevic Over 10.5 Rebounds

Vucevic has been a monster on the glass in recent weeks. He averages 11.2 rebounds per game on the year and he went over 10.5 rebounds in five of nine games in November, including three of his last five games with 13 or more rebounds.

Guest picker Doug Vazquez’s take:

Spread pick: Bulls -1.5

Regardless of whether Barrett plays, I like this as a “get right” game for the Bulls. Chicago has been faltering as of late, losing three of its last five, but Vucevic seems to be getting his legs back under him after being out with COVID. The Knicks have one of the better interior defenses in the league, so I expect Chicago will capitalize on their hot outside shooting and try to take advantage of an area where the Knicks have struggled defensively by firing up threes. The bright lights of MSG can either work in your favor or rattle you, and I think Vucevic, DeRozan, Ball and Co. will show out. I’m going to lay the points here.

Over/Under pick: 210.5

Although this matchup does feature two of the better defenses in the league, I expect a fair amount of points to be put up in this one. While both squads are pretty complete when stopping their opponents from scoring, they both excel in defending the interior. If one or both teams gets hot from outside early, I can see this one going over 210.5

Prop: Lonzo Ball Over 2.5 Threes

While the price on this prop isn’t the greatest, I’m not passing it up. Ball has worked really hard to improve his outside shot and the results have been showing as he is shooting a career-high 44% from behind the line, averaging 3.0 threes per game while attempting 6.9. I like Ball to surpass this fairly easily.

Nov 24, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) celebrates after a dunk against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Fiserv Forum.

Milwaukee Bucks (14-8) vs. Toronto Raptors (9-13)

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Spread: Bucks -4 (-110) | Raptors +4 (-110)

Moneyline: Bucks (-188) | Raptors (+155)

Total: Under 215.5 (-110) | Over 215.5 (-110)

Injuries: Bucks C Brook Lopez—Out; Raptors G Goran Dragic—Out; Raptors C Khem Birch—Out; Raptors F OG Anunoby—Out; Raptors G Gary Trent Jr.—Day-to-day

Milwaukee enters Thursday night’s game riding an eight-game winning streak. Only two of those games have come outside of Wisconsin, but the Bucks have a 7-4 record on the road. Giannis Antetokounmpo is once again playing at an MVP level and Milwaukee has Jrue Holiday back in the lineup. The Bucks’ preferred method of domination has been outscoring opponents thanks to the No. 6 scoring offense in basketball (110.6 PPG). The defense lags behind, ranking 19th (107 PPG).

The Raptors are in the midst of a free fall. They have dropped their last three and seven of their last 10 games. Toronto does a terrible job defending its home court, where it is 2-8 this season. Injuries are partially to blame for the team’s struggles, though it’s no. 23 scoring offense (105.2 PPG) deserves some of the blame as well. The Raptors are middle of the pack defensively (106.3 PPG).

Spread pick: Bucks -4

Milwaukee is on a tear and is steadily getting healthier. Wins have been difficult to come by for Toronto, especially in Toronto. It’s an easy choice to go with Milwaukee, which is 10-12 ATS while Toronto is 8-14. The Bucks are the better team, with the best player on the court. This should be an easy cover.

Over/Under pick: Over 215.5

As stated, the Raptors aren’t great on offense. Fortunately for them, the Bucks aren’t especially strong defensively, from a scoring standpoint at least. And Milwaukee is an offensive juggernaut that has scored 114 or more in six straight games. Toronto can get to 100 and see that this game goes over.

Prop: Pascal Siakam Under 20.5 Points

Siakam averages 17.9 points on the year. He’s gone over this point total three times in 11 games this season. A large part of that is because his field goal attempts per game is down considerably from recent seasons. He’s no longer the top scoring option for his team and he seems to understand that.

Guest picker Doug Vaquez’s take:

Spread pick: Bucks -4

The Raptors have been pretty horrid of late, losing their last three by a combined 36 points. Expect their losing streak to extend to four after this one and the Bucks’ winning streak to go to nine. The Bucks may be a little fatigued on the second night of a back-to-back where they eked out a grueling win against the Hornets and now travel across the border to face Toronto. I still think they will just be too much for a team that is really struggling. I’m laying the 4 here and would even consider betting this up to -7 or 8.

Over/Under pick: Under 215.5

This total seems a tad high in a matchup where one team is just not good and the other squad is on the second night of a back-to-back. I don’t envision the Raptors being in this game after the third quarter and expect a lot of garbage time from Milwaukee to get their starters rest. I think both teams stay below 100, so I’m taking the under

Prop: Fred VanVleet Under 19.5 Points

VanVleet has been getting more and more attention from opposing defenses and I don’t expect that to change in this contest with Milwaukee most likely having Jrue Holiday lock him down. I think he will struggle in this matchup and am taking the under.

DFS Value Plays:

(Prices based on 7:30 p.m. main slate)

PG Lonzo Ball, Bulls (FD: $6,700 | DK: $7,200)

SG/SF Alec Burks, Knicks (FD: $7,000 | DK: $6,500)

SF/SG Luguentz Dort, Thunder (FD: $5,600 | DK: $5,700)

PF/C Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies (FD: $6,900 | DK: $7,100)

C Jakob Poeltl, Spurs (FD: $6,000 | DK: $6,100)