NBA Play-In Tournament 2023: Bulls vs. Heat odds, predictions and best bets
The NBA Play-In Tournament has provided us with a lot of excitement already, and we're looking forward to this matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat on Friday, April 14th. The winner of this game will be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and take on the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Jonathan Von Tobel will be previewing every NBA series that these NBA Playoffs have to offer, so make sure you check out what he has to say for all of these intriguing matchups. However, we're also doing some head-to-head previews, while continuing to give you your usual dose of NBA best bets and player props. Keep reading as we dive into this battle, which features two teams that just want to keep competing.
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Bulls at Heat betting odds
Heat -5.5 / Total: 209
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Bulls at Heat Spread Analysis
The Bulls came back from a 19-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors in their first Play-In Tournament game, while the Heat got stomped at home by the Atlanta Hawks. So, it’s hard to argue that Chicago doesn’t have the momentum here. We also know that this means a lot to the Bulls, who signed Play-In specialist Patrick Beverley after the trade deadline. Beverley became a popular Twitter meme after his tear-filled celebration of escaping the Western Conference Play-In Tournament last year. Will he have another moment like that on Friday? He just might.
This season, Chicago is 3-0 both straight-up and against the spread when facing Miami, and the Heat happen to be just 10-21 ATS when playing as home favorites this year. Miami also has the worst ATS record of any team in basketball this season, as the Heat are just 30-51-2 ATS. On top of that, the Bulls are 14-5 ATS when coming off an upset win this year.
Not only do the Bulls have the momentum and trends on their side, but the style of play here should also favor them. While Miami is known as a defensive-minded team, Chicago is the better group on that end of the floor. In fact, it wasn’t even close towards the end of the season. Over the last 15 games, Chicago has the third-best defensive rating in the NBA. But in that same span, Miami is just 20th. The Heat really started to slip defensively down the stretch, and that’s hard to ignore here.
The Bulls also happen to have the more reliable late-game scoring options in this matchup. We saw how important it is to have a guy like Zach LaVine in Chicago’s first Play-In game. He completely took over in the Bulls’ win over the Raptors, as he scored 39 points in a game where his team scored only 109. With LaVine and DeMar DeRozan in the fold, Chicago has two players that can create offense for themselves in isolation. The only player that can really be counted on to do that for Miami is Jimmy Butler. But Butler might be gassed by the end of this game after having to chase LaVine and DeRozan around on the defensive end. And Tyler Herro is going to have a hard time creating offense against Chicago’s duo of Beverley and Alex Caruso, who are both menacing at the point of attack.
Unless somebody on Miami gets uncharacteristically hot, this just should be a game that goes down to the wire. With that said, the Bulls look like they’re getting too many points in this spot. They have a legitimate shot to win this one outright.
Bulls at Heat Total Analysis
The Bulls and Heat went Under the total in each of the last two games they played against one another, but both of those games would have gone Over the mark set for this one. While these are two teams that really prioritize getting stops, this is an incredibly low number and it’s going to be hard for them not to hit the Over. We expected a low-scoring game between the Bulls and Raptors, and that one was a complete grind-it-out affair. But the two still ended up scoring 214 points.
Chicago should also be able to find a way to score against a Miami defense that continues to struggle. The Hawks got whatever they wanted against the Heat last game, so there will be opportunities for the Bulls to find open looks. There should also be decent spacing for Chicago with Nikola Vucevic’s shooting ability pulling Bam Adebayo away from the basket. And if the Bulls are scoring, the Heat will have no choice but to speed things up a bit.
Bulls at Heat Best Bet
The total is a tough call in this game, but the spread genuinely seems like a gift from the oddsmakers. It really feels like this is the end of the road for this version of the Heat. Even if Miami does end up winning, the team will likely get destroyed by the Milwaukee Bucks. And that would lead to wholesale changes in the offseason. Look for the Bulls to easily cover and potentially win outright.
Pick: Bulls +5.5 (-110)
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