After a thrilling two days of play-in tournament games, it all comes down to this as it’s win or go home for these two units. Even after two contrast results, oddsmakers still give the edge to the Heat at home as a -5.5 favorite to grab the eighth seed. Both teams are fairly healthy and will be rested heading into this matchup. After getting the win on the road in a crazed Toronto environment, my prediction is that the Bulls continue to ride their momentum and keep it tight in Miami.
Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat Betting Odds
As previously mentioned, oddsmakers lean towards Miami’s favor in securing the win as they opened the Heat as a -5 favorite on their own home court. Bettors are in agreement with oddsmakers, backing them up to -5.5 as of writing. This falls just short of my target number of +6 for the Bulls, forcing me to be patient and wait and see if this number appears before tipoff. Six is a key number as it hovers around the mentality of fouling down late, making it vital we take the Bulls at no lower than +6.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a sluggish pace as they opened the number at 208. Bettors have higher hopes for an uptick in scoring, taking the over up to as high as 209.5 in some shops. The scoring potential is there for both units as both struggle to negate open looks at a consistent rate in the interior. The Heat were also abysmal at rebounding in their last contest, opening the door for precious second chance opportunities for the Bulls who need every scoring opportunity that they can afford.
Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat Prediction
The Pick: Wait for a CHI +6
I alluded to it in the odds breakdown, but I am targeting the Bulls at no lower than +6 as I believe they can take advantage of the Heat’s weaknesses in their efforts to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Bulls offense was mightily impressive down the stretch against the Raptors, a Toronto squad that sort of mimics the Heat’s identity. A very stout defense with elite on-ball defenders who have struggles on offense.
The Bulls were able to negate the Raptors suffocating defense by shifting them over to respect Zach LaVine’s scoring. LaVine had a mismatch with the much smaller Fred VanVleet as he continuously took him off the dribble, seemingly finding scoring opportunities near the rim at will. He will find himself in a similar situation against a smaller and slower Kyle Lowry when they shift LaVine back to the point guard slot when Patrick Beverely is on the bench.
They would be wise to limit Beverley’s play time in this one as the Bulls can sacrifice his defense for a more versatile offense as the Heat struggle to generate scoring at a consistent rate. If Jimmy Butler does end up on LaVine after his most recent performance, this opens the door for Demar DeRozan to routinely attack the middle until big man Bam Adebayo creeps away from the rim to respect his mid-range jumper.
- Over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Miami
- Bulls are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings against each other in Miami
It’s a battle of bigs when Bam Adebayo and Nikola Vucevic clash in the interior.
Bam Adebayo Vs. Nikola Vucevic
It was a forgettable performance in his last game out and it will be intriguing to see how Adebayo adjusts against Vucevic’s offensive prowess. Adebayo was routinely cooked on his off side as the Heat’s rim protector, being strung along to Trae Young’s drives at the rim and having to respect his finishing ability.
He may be in a similar position in this matchup as DeMar DeRozan will be hovering around his orbit as a mid-range maestro. This forces Adebayo in an uncomfortable position as he also has to respect Vucevic’s shooting ability. We may see Vucevic attempt to stretch out Adebayo by creeping back towards the mid-range and burning him with his jumper.
The Bulls ability to attack the mid-range and interior is a key reason why I think they cover the spread in my Bulls Vs. Heat prediction.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 13, 2023
Wait and see if a Bulls +6 appears before tipoff as I would not play them at any lower than that number.
Chicago Bulls Starting Lineup
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
Chicago Bulls Injuries: Justin Lewis (O)
Miami Heat Injuries: Nikola Jovic (O)