Heat at Bulls Preview and Betting Pick: The Miami Heat (18-18) face the Chicago Bulls (16-18) at 9 p.m. ET in the United Center in Chicago on Friday evening. Below, I will be sharing with you my picks and predictions for when these 2 teams make a playoff push for the second half of the season.
Odds, Spreads, and Lines
- Last updated: 11:50 p.m.
- Moneyline: Heat (-135), Bulls (+115)
- Against the spread: Heat -2.5 (-110), Bulls +2.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: O 220.5 (-110), U 220.5 (-110)
Bam Adebayo (Knee) – ruled out Friday
Avery Bradley (Calf) – ruled out of Thursday’s game against the Magic
Devon Dotson (Knee) – ruled out of Thursday’s game against the 76ers
When the Heat and Bulls meet Friday night they will both be coming off games played the night before. The Heat face a lighter matchup against Orlando Magic (13-23) while the Bulls square off against the tough Eastern Conference leaders, the 76ers (24-12).
Heading into the All-Star Break
The Heat and Bulls both entered All-Star Game weekend winning their last matchups. Both of their wins came against the Pelicans with the Heat beating them 103-93 and the Bulls winning by a score of 128-124.
The Heat finally showed glimpses of what they were able to put on display during the duration of last year’s playoff run. On February 17th the Heat’s overall record was 11-17 (.393 winning percentage) after falling to the Warriors 120-112 in an overtime defeat. Fast forward to 2 weeks later and the Heat sit atop the Southeast Division with an 18-18 (.500 winning percentage) record.
The Bulls have certainly done better than people expected as they sit in 2nd place in the Southeast Division. A large part of that is contributed to who I believe to be the most underrated player in the NBA today: Zach Lavine.
Lavine is the 6th leading scorer in the NBA averaging 28.7 points per game. If it weren’t for him, only god knows where the Bulls would be with his absence. A lot of pressure is put on Lavine as if he doesn’t perform to his expectations then the game will quickly slip away.
Heat are Coming Back into Championship Form
To begin the season, the Heat struggled. I mean really struggled. On February 3rd, the previous Eastern Conference champions had a record of 7-14 to begin their season.
Heading into the All-Star break with a 18-18 record and .500 winning percentage is a blessing for the Heat organization and it’s loyal fans. With the majority of the best teams coming out of the Western Conference, the Heat are from not being in the playoff picture. In fact, if the season were to come to a finish today they would finish as the #6 seed and face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, who they were able to beat in last year’s playoffs.
I anticipate for the Heat only to rise in the standings from here on out. What makes a team like the Heat so special is that each night there is the opportunity for a different player to lead in scoring. When looking at the Bulls, there is no question that Zach Lavine is going to be the leading scorer each contest.
The Heat won 7 of their last 8 games before their week off to enjoy All-Star Game weekend. In those 8 games, there were 5 different leading scorers across those matchups. They play an unselfish game and make the extra pass rather than settle for the improbable deep 3-pointer.
Heat Last 8 Games:
- 2/18 vs Kings 118-110 Win (Leading Scorer: Tyler Herro 27 points)
- 2/20 vs Lakers 96-94 Win (Leading Scorer: Kendrick Nunn 27 points)
- 2/22 vs Thunder 108-94 Win (Leading Scorer: Duncan Robinson 22 points)
- 2/24 vs Raptors 116-108 Win (Leading Scorer: Jimmy Butler 27 points)
- 2/26 vs Jazz 124-116 Win (Leading Scorer: Jimmy Butler 33 points)
- 2/28 vs Hawks 109-99 Win (Leading Scorer: Kendrick Nunn 24 points)
- 3/2 vs Hawks 94-80 Loss (Leading Scorer: Goran Dragic 14 points)
- 3/4 vs Pelicans 103-93 Win (Leading Scorer: Jimmy Butler 29 points)
These past 8 contests tell me that the Heat are on a roll with wins over the Lakers, Jazz, Raptors, and Pelicans. It seems they have finally regrouped and discovered what was working for them so well in the playoffs last year.
Heat at Bulls Preview and Betting Pick
The Heat are 5th in the league in points against by only allowing 108.4 points per game. Prepare for the Heat to dominate on both sides of the court with Robinson and Herro nailing contested 3-pointers and Butler to lock down Lavine on the defensive end.
This will be the first time this season that the Heat and Bulls come against one another so there is no revenge factor whatsoever. There is only a race to the finals and the best seed available awaits each team.
Free Pick: Miami Heat ML (-135)