The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls will meet on Saturday – which up-and-coming contender will make a statement?
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The Miami Heat (12-7 SU, 12-7 ATS) will meet the Chicago Bulls (13-7 SU, 13-7 ATS) at the United Center on Saturday Night. Both teams have won three of their last five games. The Heat last played on Wednesday night, dropping a road game to the Minnesotta Timberwolves. The Bulls beat the Orlando Magic 123-88 in Orlando Friday night.
So, what can we expect from this battle between the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams in the Eastern Conference?
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls Betting Lines
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Point Spread: Heat -1.5
Money Line: Heat -120 / Bulls -101
Total: Over/Under 211.5
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls Injury Report
The lone member of the Miami Heat Injury report, apart from the extended absences of Victor Oladipo (quad) and Markieff Morris (neck), is Marcus Garret (wrist) who missed Wedensday’s game against the Timberwolves.
For the Bulls, Alex Caruso (wrist) is questionable for this one. He is the lone member of the injury report, barring anyone else sitting out on the second night of a back-to-back.
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls Preview
Heat Off of Brutal Schedule
Of the last ten games for the Heat, eight have been on the road. From November 8th to November 15th, they went on a five-game West Coast trip where they dropped the first three games before winning the final two. They then came home, winning back-to-back games before going on the road and dropping two of three games.
Over those past ten games, the Heat are 5-5, ranking 14th in Net Rating, 17th in Offensive Rating and 15th in Defensive Rating. Those numbers look much different from their first ten games, when they were 3rd in Offensive Rating, 5th in Defensive Rating and 2nd in Net Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats.
With that tough schedule stretch in the rear view mirror, the Heat come into this game well rested, having not played since Wednesday when they lost to the Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back
Bulls playing well defensively
The Bulls have emerged as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season. While they are getting significant contributions on the offensive end from Demar Derozan, Zach Lavine and Lonzo Ball, they have really excelled on the defensive end.
The Bulls rank 13th in Offensive Rating this season, but are 5th in Defensive Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats. Those numbers take a slight dip over the last ten games, as they rank 11th in defensive rating over that span. The Bulls are allowing just 102.8 points per game at home.
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls Prediction and Pick
I don’t see a ton of value on either side of the spread in this bout. The Bulls are off a back-to-back, but their 123-88 win over the Magic in Orlando last night was over in the 3rd quarter. The Heat are also as well rested as they’ve been all season long, having not played a game since Wednesday night in Minnesotta.
While they are well-rested, though, the Heat have struggled on the road. Six of their seven losses this season have come on the road. So I am not overly comfortable with taking them as short road favorites tonight.
This takes us to the under. While I don’t know how well the rest advantage will do for the Heat in terms of winning this game, I do see it helping them defensively. Prior to that gauntlet of a ten-game stretch after they opened 7-2, the Heat were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. On the season, they’ve held opponents to 32.9% shooting from three and 43.1% overall from the field. I think in a battle between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, we will see a down-to-the-wire low scoring affair.
It’s also worth noting that the total for this game opened at 213 and has been bet down to as far as 210.5 in some places, despite more of the bets coming in on the over.
Pick: Under 211.5