Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls Preview (10/22/22): Predictions, Starting Lineups, Odds

The Cleveland Cavaliers (0-1) will try to bounce back from their season opening 108-105 loss to the Raptors by defeating the Chicago Bulls (1-1). There is a vital injury swing in this matchup, as Darius Garland will be out while Zach LaVine makes his season debut.

Can the Cavaliers earn their first win of the season? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are found below.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls Betting Odds

Although injuries clearly favor Chicago, the Cavaliers are nonetheless slightly favored. The spread is -1 Cavaliers, and their moneyline can be had at -115. On the other side, Chicago’s moneyline resides at +110, which means they would need to win this game at least 48% of the time to be profitable. The 217.5 total is the lowest over under mark for all Saturday games.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls Prediction

I am taking the Bulls to cover +2 here instead of their moneyline because I expect this game to be extremely close. Therefore, the two points are more valuable than the boost from -110 to +110.

DeMar DeRozan has opened the season at a blistering pace; across two games, he’s averaging 34.5 PPG and 7.5 APG on a 55.5 FG%. The mid-range maestro is feasting in isolation, and Cleveland lacks an elite wing defender to throw at him. Caris LeVert and Cedi Osman cannot guard DeRozan in the slightest. Isaac Okoro represents Cleveland’s best chance, but he’s only an above average defender instead of the true ball stopper they need. Plus, the Cavaliers offense would then have to deal with Okoro’s poor shooting and limited offensive repertoire. And while Evan Mobley is fluid for his size and can defend well on the perimeter, he doesn’t have the ability to consistently handle DeRozan.

What happens with LaVine? He’s coming off a 24.4 PPG campaign and 47/38/85 shooting split. The Cavaliers don’t own the personnel to smother LaVine, which is a huge red flag. He can break down defenses off the dribble, and his passing from drives has improved. In addition, Cleveland must contend with Dosunmu’s improved off the dribble scoring and the abundance of catch and shoot talent. The Cavaliers can limit Vucevic and drivers through Mobley and Allen’s interior defense, but their mid-range and three-point defense is concerning against a Bulls squad that thrives shooting jumpers.

Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell must be the main scorer and playmaker with Garland out. Although he has superb scoring chops, I question his ability to be the main playmaker who significantly boosts teammate shot quality. Therefore, because Mobley and Allen mostly rely on being set up, the Cavaliers may not be able to take full advantage of Chicago’s poor rim protection. Mitchell also faces a tough assignment too, as Caruso and Dosunmu are excellent defensive guards who will make him work for every shot.

Despite their flaws here, Cleveland still maintains a legitimate chance to win. Mitchell will score plenty of points regardless of his matchup, and LeVert can produce 18-22 points on any night. The Cavaliers may also get hot from deep through Mitchell, LeVert, Osman, and Love. If Cleveland can dump the ball down low to Mobley or Allen, then they would potentially hold a tremendous advantage for paint scoring and free throws. Chicago can also not have an off shooting night as they will struggle to find any attempts in the paint.

Overall, the Cavaliers sans Garland have noticeable offensive flaws. This reality is worrisome since Chicago’s offense owns serious firepower. Also, the Bulls’ defenders overlap with Mitchell, while the same cannot be said of the Cavaliers and DeRozan/LaVine. Add in home-court advantage, and the Bulls covering is the best bet.

Betting Trends

  • Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Chicago
  • Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings

Key Matchups

Which unit or players will defeat their counterpart? Check out below for key matchups.

Cavaliers Bench vs. Bulls Bench

The bench matchup is crucial because the two starting lineups are not significantly unbalanced. Osman and Love are the main pillars of Cleveland’s bench because they can score 15-20 points. Both players space the floor and possess size for their position. On the other hand, Coby White flashes intriguing microwave scorer potential, and Drummond is a problem around the basket. The Bulls can also rely on Dragic, Caruso, and Green off the bench. The outcome of this game will be heavily influenced by whichever bench can seize the advantage.

Nikola Vucevic vs. Jarrett Allen

Vucevic’s interior scoring has been inconsistent, but the Bulls offense is far more balanced when he’s comfortable and hitting shots. If Vucevic can score on the block and fight more second chance points from offensive rebounds, then Chicago’s offense will likely be too much for Cleveland to handle. However, if Allen can completely eliminate Vucevic from the equation while deterring drivers, then the Cavaliers’ defense has a chance to limit Chicago’s efficient offense. On the other end, Allen has to get involved and exploit Vuvecic’s poor rim protection. Mitchell will require plenty of help, so Allen’s scoring would be a boon for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup

PG: Donovan Mitchell
SG: Caris LeVert
SF: Isaac Okoro
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen

Chicago Bulls Starting Lineups

PG: Ayo Dosunmu
SG: Zach LaVine
SF: DeMar DeRozan
PF: Patrick Williams
C: Nikola Vucevic

Key Injuries

Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: Darius Garland (O), Ricky Rubio (O), Dylan Windler (O)

Chicago Bulls Injuries: Zach LaVine (P), Lonzo Ball (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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