NBA Best Bets Today: Predictions for Knicks-Bulls, DeMar DeRozan, Bucks-Raptors and More

DeMar DeRozan posts up Evan Fournier.
DeMar DeRozan posts up Evan Fournier. / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Part III of the New York Knicks-Chicago Bulls season series takes place tonight, and the Phoenix Suns look to extend their winning streak to 18 games after winning every game they played in November.

Before we get into today's picks, what the hell is up with all of the injuries to key players as of late?

LeBron James has COVID-19, Damian Lillard is out for at least 10 days with an abdominal injury, Devin Booker is out with a hamstring injury and Zion Williamson just suffered a setback in his return from a foot injury.

I know it's early in the season, but man it sucks not to be able to see some of these guys on the floor. We can only hope that they new year brings more health to the league's brightest stars, but whether they're healthy or not, we're still making picks on The Association.

Tonight we have a pair of player props, an upset in New York and a key trend for the Milwaukee Bucks to look at. Let's dive in:

All odds courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook.

NBA Best Bets Record to Date

  • NBA Best Bets Record: 36-42-1 (-8.7247 units)

Get the BetSided team's "Best Bets" for Thursday night, including a play on a double-digit underdog on the latest "Bet & Breakfast" podcast.

NBA Best Bets Today

  • New York Knicks Moneyline vs. Chicago Bulls (+105)
  • Milwaukee Bucks -4.0 vs. Toronto Raptors (-110)
  • Cade Cunningham UNDER 19.5 Points and Assists (+100)
  • DeMar DeRozan OVER 24.5 Points (-110)

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New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls: Knicks Moneyline (+105)

The rubber match between the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls takes place on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. 

The first two matchups between these two teams were in Chicago, with the Knicks winning the first game by a point and the Bulls winning the second by six. 

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau made a major move this week, removing guard Kemba Walker from the rotation and putting Alec Burks in the starting lineup. 

Burks is averaging 24.0 points per game in his two starts this season, and the Knicks beat the Atlanta Hawks before narrowly losing to Brooklyn. The move to Burks has improved New York’s defense, and Thibodeau loves the switchability that the lengthy wing gives the team. 

“I just don’t like the way we’ve been trending, the inconsistency of our team,” Thibodeau said earlier this week. “I want to get bigger. I want our defense to get bigger at the point of the attack. So basically that’s it. You got to do something different.”

Prior to Walker’s benching, The Athletic’s Fred Katz pointed out a disturbing trend that has occurred for New York with Walker in the lineup this season.

“The Knicks allow 99.0 points per 100 possessions when Walker is on the bench,” Katz wrote. “That’d be the best defensive efficiency in the NBA if it belonged to a team. They allow 116.3 when he is in the game, which would be the worst defensive efficiency.”

Right now, New York is 20th in the league in defensive rating, but I think the Knicks are a live dog in this spot against Chicago. 

New York hasn’t been a great home team this year, going just 4-7 against the spread, but it’s hard to view them as the same team with this lineup change. I’m backing New York in this spot, and I like the Knicks even more if RJ Barrett (non-COVID illness) is able to go. 

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors: Bucks -4.0 (-110)

Milwaukee is going to be tired after playing a tough game on Wednesday, but I still like the Bucks in this spot, as they have covered in four of their last five games.

Toronto is reeling without OG Anunoby (out, hip) and could be without Gary Trent Jr. (questionable) as well in this game. Even though the Raptors are at home, don’t be so quick to back them as an underdog, as they’re just 7-9 in that spot this season. 

The Bucks have gotten back to their championship form with Middleton and Jrue Holiday healthy, and I think they will continue their strong betting record as a road favorite (6-1 ATS this year) in this matchup. 

Cade Cunningham UNDER 19.5 Points and Assists (+100)

Cade Cunningham has shown some flashes in his rookie season, but he’s put up just three assists over his last two games and is shooting only 36.0 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from 3. 

The Suns just held Steph Curry to 4-for-21 shooting on Tuesday and have the second best defensive rating in the NBA. Mikal Bridges is going to make things tough on the rookie tonight.

DeMar DeRozan OVER 24.5 Points (-110)

DeMar DeRozan is averaging 25.5 points per game against the Knicks in their two matchups this season, and he dropped 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting his last game against New York. 

DeRozan has put up 28 points in back-to-back games, and is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and averaging 25.9 points per game this season. I think DeRozan has another big game tonight, especially if RJ Barrett (illness) doesn’t go for the Knicks.