Pointspread: Chicago -3.5
Total Line: OFF
The Miami Heat travel to the United Center this Thursday night to square-off against the Chicago Bulls in what should be a preview of this season’s Eastern Conference Finals. The game is set to tip-off at 8 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
Miami will quickly have to put Tuesday’s 115-107 loss to Boston as a 7.5-point home favorite out of its mind to get ready for Thursday’s huge showdown. The Heat now trail the Bulls by three games for the top spot in the East with an overall record of 40-16 straight-up (27-29 against the spread). They have not been too impressive on the road this season at just 16-12 SU and 13-15 ATS. The total has gone 14-12-2 in their 28 road games.
The Heat are ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring with 100.3 points a game, but Tuesday’s 107 points against the Celtics was just the third time in their last 14 games that they scored over 100 points. Defensively, Miami is giving-up and average 93.6 points a game, which is ranked eighth in the league.
Chicago continues to find ways to win games with Derrick Rose out of the lineup. This past Tuesday, it avenged Sunday’s overtime loss to New York by beating the Knicks 98-86 as a seven-point home favorite. The Bulls are now a NBA-best 44-14 SU (33-24-1 ATS) overall and 23-6 SU at home. They are 14-14-1 ATS at home this season with the total going 14-14-1 as well.
It appears that Rose may miss this game as well after tweaking his ankle this past Sunday, but it will probably remain a game time decision. He has missed well over 20 games this season due to injury, but this team is deep enough to fill the void. Its main strength has been a defense that is holding its opponents to a 42.7 shooting percentage from the field and 88.9 points a game. Chicago has the best scoring differential in the league at +7.91.
The Heat are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games on one day’s rest and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games on the road. The total has stayed ‘under’ in five of their last seven games against the Central Division.
The Bulls are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on one day’s rest and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games against the Southeast Division. The total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of their last 10 games against the Southeast.
The season series is tied at one game apiece with each team winning SU at home. Overall, Miami is 6-13-2 ATS in its last 21 trips to Chicago and the total has stayed ‘under’ in eight of the last 11 meetings at the United Center.
Even if Rose cannot go, stick with the Bulls to make a statement that the road to this year’s NBA Finals still goes through Chicago. The Free NBA Pick: Chicago 97 Miami 92
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.