Bulls vs. Spurs NBA Picks: Who Will Prevail in DeRozan’s Return to San Antonio?

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DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

DeMar DeRozan returns to San Antonio when the Bulls visit the Spurs on Friday night. Here’s a complete preview, including betting odds and free NBA picks.

Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs

Friday, January 28, 2022 – 08:30 PM EST at AT&T Center

The Bulls opened at -2 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) and FiveThirtyEight have them at +5, giving them a 32 percent chance to win. Something doesn't add up, this is a massive gap. For support, we turn to USA Today's Jeff Sagarin's projections; he has the Bulls at -2.75 using his Rating numbers and at -4.04 using his eigenvector analysis. BetOnline set the total at 229 in their NBA odds board and Sagarin projects these two teams to combine for 223.99 points. Should we hammer the 229-point total?

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A Special Game for DeMar

The Raptors sent DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard trade in 2018 and he gave them all he had for three years, averaging 21.6 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 34.3 minutes over 206 games but he joined the Bulls in free agency because he wanted a chance to compete for a championship.

DeRozan is having an MVP season for the Bulls (30-17 SU, 27-19-1 ATS) and while he didn't leave the Spurs on bad terms, he will love to put on a show in San Antonio and help his new team win their third straight game. DeRozan's fellow star Zach LaVine (plus-4.5 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) is back, which gives the Bulls a massive boost on offense but the team is still without Lonzo Ball (plus-1.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) and Alex Caruso (plus-2.8 Defensive Box Plus/Minus), which can explain this high total.

We might want to put the Under in our NBA picks. The Under is 3-1 in Chicago's last four games, even with Ball and Caruso out and 5-2 in San Antonio's last seven games. The Spurs (18-31 SU, 25-24 ATS) have lost their last three home games. Overall, they're just 9-16 SU and 12-13 ATS at the AT&T Center.

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Key Matchup

Dejounte Murray vs. Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu

Coby White and rookie Ayo Dosunmu have expanded roles with Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso down with injuries and they've performed well, particularly on offense but can they stop Dejounte Murray? The Spurs won't put up a fight against the Bulls unless Murray has a big game and being guarded by Coby White (minus-1.7 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) and Ayo Dosunmu (minus-0.1 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) could help him. Murray had 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds on 5 of 17 shooting on Wednesday's 118-110 home loss against the Grizzlies and how he fares against White and/or Dosunmu can help determine if this game goes Over or Under the total.

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Prediction

The recent trends for both teams suggest that the Under is the play and while the Spurs have no trouble scoring, they rank just 17th in the league in offensive efficiency, averaging 107.7 points per 100 possessions. The Bulls are 15th in the NBA in pace with 99.6 possessions per game and none of their last seven games went Over 229 points. I'll sprinkle some money on the Under and enjoy the game.

NBA Pick: Under 229 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Under 229 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.