This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
DeMar DeRozan over 25.5 points (-105) at Warriors – DraftKings, 1:55 PM CT
The Bulls' bench is extremely thin, so playing without Nikola Vucevic should just put the ball in the hands of DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball more. I trust DeRozan the most to hit his prop because he has the highest minutes sample of the three without Vucevic on the court, and he's more of a volume shooter than Ball. Per 36 minutes, DeRozan takes 25.3 field-goal attempts with Vooch off the court, making the over on 25.5 points an easy target.
If you want to abandon the safe play and go for a longshot, there's a lot of room to have fun with this game if you really think the Bulls' trio will dominate the usage. Again, look at the remaining offensive options on this team without their starting center. Nearly 13-to-1 odds seems generous on this parlay. I know the Warriors have an elite defense, but Draymond Green is questionable, and this becomes an even better bet if he's ruled out. This is more of a lunch-money bet than a 1-unit play, so to speak.
Rarely do I add bets after the original posting of this article, but I'm breaking that trend now after seeing Giannis Antetokounmpo is out. Here's my tweet showing the relevant stats:
Nikola Jokic over 36.5 points + rebounds (-108) vs. Hawks – FanDuel, 2:01 PM CT
This is just the second game that Jokic will have played without Michael Porter Jr., and I think there's value in this prop. With MPJ off the court, Jokic is averaging 33.2 points and 16.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. We all know MPJ was underperforming, but his absence still leaves a hole of 12.4 shots and 6.9 rebounds that need to be made up. Jokic has just been doing a lot of that work himself.
Warriors ML (-220) vs Bulls – DraftKings, 1:22 pm CT
With Vucevic out against the Warriors, there's no doubt in my mind that the Warriors will be able to defeat the Bulls. The Warriors have only lost one game so far this year, and it was in OT against the Grizzlies. Expect the Warriors to have no problem beating a Bulls team with a depleted frontcourt.