The Chicago Bulls are still more likely than not to gain the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but recent struggles have prevented them from closing the door against the Miami Heat.
Chicago Bulls @ Miami Heat – Thursday, April 19
Sports betting line: No line, check later.
Why Chicago Will Win
The professional basketball pundit class has been divided on the matter of whether Chicago has the stuff to beat Miami if the two teams meet in the playoffs. Some commentators would claim that the ranks of online betting analysts are giving too much credence to the Heat and their reputation, based on what happened in last year’s postseason, when Miami beat Chicago in five games to win the Eastern Conference finals. Other pundits are very much of the opinion that the Heat will indeed be able to flip the switch and play the level of ball they exhibited last May, when they did indeed outfox the Bulls in a best-of-seven postseason series. Which way will the pendulum swing in this game, the final regular-season meeting between the two teams? Chicago has the better collection of ten players.
Yes, Miami has the two best players on the court – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade – but this is a team game, and Chicago has the deeper team of skilled basketball players. The Bulls’ bench has towered over the Heat’s bench… it did so last week when Chicago scored an overtime win over Miami in the Windy City. Chicago, down by three points in the final seconds, received a tying triple from reserve C.J. Watson with 2.2 seconds left on the clock. The Bulls took that momentum and ran with it in the overtime to lock down the victory.
Chicago’s bench scored almost as many points and grabbed almost as many rebounds as its starting five did on that night. Guys like Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Omer Asik provide a great deal of energy on defense and on the glass while contributing enough jump shooting to give the Bulls scoring punch at the offensive end of the floor. Miami’s bench has not been able to come close to Chicago’s all season long, and with Miami’s starters logging so many minutes, Chicago can stay fresher over the course of a game, putting more active bodies on the floor. This is the blueprint for a Chicago win.
Why Miami Will Win
When you do your homework and assess your sports bet on this specific game, you will likely come to the realization that the Bulls’ limitations might catch up with them. Derrick Rose has barely played over
the past three weeks due to lingering back injuries plus an injured ankle, while Luol Deng missed Chicago’s game this past Monday against Washington due to ongoing issues with his left (non-shooting) wrist. Chicago is in a position where it is trying to get healthy for the playoffs, and it’s hard to see the Bulls winning on the road in Miami under these conditions.
Who Will Win
It’s not as though Miami is a lot better than Chicago – it isn’t – but the Bulls are banged up, and the Heat had to feel stung by their inability to beat the Bulls on the road a week ago. Expect Miami to play with more passion and urgency. The Heat know that they need to send a message to the Bulls before the playoffs begin; they will take this game seriously and not let up. Take Miami on Thursday.
NBA Basketball Betting Pick: Miami
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