The Chicago Bulls take on the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Monday night to wrap up their three-game regular-season series. The Heat will look to sweep the Bulls, opening as 5-point home favorites on BetRivers Sportsbook, so let’s see what’s the best betting pick for this Eastern Conference clash that has a lot at stake for both clubs.
Miami outlasted Chicago 106-101 yesterday and covered a 4.5-point spread. Back in March, the Heat beat the Bulls as 2-point road favorites, 101-90, so Miami is now undefeated in four straight matchups with Chicago.
The Bulls battle bravely in Zach LaVine’s absence
The Chicago Bulls (25-35; 31-28-1 ATS) have missed their best player Zach LaVine (medical protocols) over the last six outings, going 3-3 straight up and ATS in that span. LaVine, who’s averaging 27.5 points and 5.1 assists on the season, will sit out Monday’s game in Miami as well.
Coby White led the way for the Bulls on Saturday, dropping 31 points on the Heat while shooting 11-for-18 from the field. Nikola Vucevic added 26 points and 14 rebounds, but the rest of the pack scored in single digits.
The Bulls are tied with the Raptors for the No. 11 seed in the East, trailing 1.5 games behind the 10th-seeded Wizards. While playing without LaVine, the Bulls have been posting the 18th-best offensive rating in the NBA (110.4 points per 100 possessions) along with the 11th-best defensive rating (110.2).
The Heat look to stay on the right track
The Miami Heat (32-29; 27-33-1 ATS) are 4-1 straight up and ATS in their last five games overall. After a 118-113 defeat at the Atlanta Hawks, the Heat bounced back with that five-point win over Chicago on Saturday to keep the pace in the race for the highest possible seed in the Eastern Conference.
Miami is seventh at the moment, just half a game behind the sixth-seeded Boston Celtics and a couple of games behind the fourth-seeded New York Knicks. The Heat would like to avoid the play-in tournament, at least.
Duncan Robinson led the way for Miami yesterday, accounting for 23 points including seven triples. The Heat stormed the front to build a 15-point first-quarter lead and led by as many as 24 points, but they allowed the Bulls to cut the deficit in the fourth quarter, scoring just 45 points since the break.
- 3-7 ATS in the last ten games overall
- 1-5 ATS in the last six games on the road
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
- 5-2 ATS in the last seven games against Chicago
The Bulls have been unpredictable all season, and they nearly overcame a massive deficit against the Heat on Saturday. This time, I’m expecting a more comfortable victory by Miami. Simply put, the Heat are a much better team than LaVine-less Bulls.
As I’ve mentioned, both teams desperately need a win, and Miami should deal with pressure much better than Chicago. Give me the reigning vice-champs to cover.
Pick: Take Miami Heat -5.0 at -110
I would stick with the spread and avoid the totals because of the low line at 206.0 points. The Heat play at the second-slowest pace in the league, averaging only 96.6 possessions per 48 minutes, while the Bulls are 12th with 99.6 possessions per 48 minutes.
Monday’s game went in the over of a 203.5-point line. The over is 4-3 in Chicago’s last seven games, and three of those seven tilts produced more than 221 points in total. On the other hand, the Bulls could easily struggle to hit the 100-point mark against Miami’s defense that surrenders 105.4 points per game over its last ten outings (2nd in the NBA).
Pick: Go over 206.0 points at -110