Bulls vs. Heat Expert Pick - April 14th, 2023
BULLS VS. HEAT EXPERT PICK - APRIL 14th, 2023 - The Chicago Bulls will travel to Miami to take on the Heat in the final play-in game to decide the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The winner will move on to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. It will be aired on TNT at 7 p.m. EDT on Friday.
The Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors in their first play-in game on the road. The Bulls were down 58 to 47 at halftime but stormed back in the fourth quarter on the back of their defense. They had nine steals and 10 blocks in the game and outscored the Raptors 37 to 24 in the fourth quarter.
Zach LaVine scored 39 points, and Demar DeRozan chipped in 23. They were extremely fortunate that Toronto shot 50% at the free-throw line and missed 18. The Raptors gave them a huge opportunity to get back in the game.
The Heat lost to the Atlanta Hawks in their first play-in game on Tuesday. The Hawks jumped out to an early lead and never let up. Their largest lead of the game was 24, and they won 116 to 105. Miami got outrebounded 63 to 39 and allowed 22 offensive rebounds. The Hawks beat them in the paint and got easier shots. Luckily, they get another chance at securing a spot in the playoffs this Friday.
Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat Head-To-Head
The Heat and the Bulls have faced each other three times this season, with their first meeting being the season opener. The Bulls won that game 116-108 without Zach LaVine. DeRozan led the team with 37 points, and Vucevic added a double-double in the win in Miami.
In their second meeting in Miami, the Bulls won the game 113-103 against a depleted Miami squad. Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and others did not play, and Chicago was near full strength. Chicago had three players with 20+ points and shot 55% from the field.
The Bulls swept the season series at home in mid-March. They won 113 to 99 by shooting 56% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. They attempted 18 more free throws than Miami, and their largest lead was 27. The Bulls have had their way with Miami this season and shoot well against them.
The O?U for this game is sitting around 208.5. The average total of the first three matchups this season is 217, and each game has gone over 208.5.
Miami shoots 83.1% from the line this season, and Chicago 80.9%, so it is not likely to lose points at the stripe, but they both rank in the bottom 10 of teams in points per game.
They are also in the top 10 teams in defensive rating. They both got beat on the offensive glass last outing, but rank at the bottom of the league in offensive rebounds per game. With the line being this low, the OVER 208.5 is the play.
The Bulls have gone to Miami twice this season and left victorious. This game will be much harder to win, but they should be able to keep it close.
The spread for has Miami favored by 5.5 points. The Bulls were fortunate the Raptors missed their free throws last game, but Miami will not do that.
They are efficient at the line and make the other team pay for fouling. Still, they are last in the league in points per game and 29th in pace. They are methodical in their approach and take their time. These teams are evenly matched, and either could win this game, so Bulls +5.5 is the play.
Chicago allows teams to attempt 37 three-pointers per game because they focus on protecting the paint. They send help when the ball moves inside, which leaves shooters open.
Max Strus has an opportunity to take advantage of this. He is averaging 2.5 made threes per game this season on 7.0 attempts. His three-pointers made total is at 2.5, with the under being juiced to -150. It is a solid spot to take the over 2.5 made threes at +100.
OVER 208.5 Total Points
Max Strus OVER 2.5 Made Threes (+100)