The Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat will clash in the final Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament game on Friday night to determine the No. 8 seed in the conference.
Miami fell 116-105 to the Atlanta Hawks in Tuesday’s No. 7 vs. No. 8 Play-In Game and the Heat will now host the Bulls, who staged a come-from-behind 109-105 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 Play-In Game.
The winner of this contest will earn the No 8 seed in the East and the right to play the Milwaukee Bucks in a best-of-seven series, while the loser will be sent home packing.
Bulls vs. Heat odds
|Bulls Moneyline Odds||+180|
|Heat Moneyline Odds||-220|
|Over/Under||209 points (over -110, under +110)|
|Spread||Heat -5.5 (-110)|
|Time/Date||Friday, April 14, 7 p.m. ET|
Stream: NBA League Pass
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The Bulls swept the three-game season series and outscored the Heat by a combined score of 342-310. Chicago covered the spread as an underdog in all three contests and the teams combined to play under the total in two of the three meetings.
Oct. 19 @ Miami – Bulls 116, Heat 108. Bulls covered as 7.5-point underdogs and teams played over the 217-point total.
Dec. 20 @ Miami – Bulls 113, Heat 103. Bulls covered as 1.5-point underdogs and teams played under the 222-point total.
March 18 @ Chicago – Bulls 113, Heat 99. Bulls covered as 2-point underdogs and teams played under the 217-point total.
About the Bulls
The Bulls were in big trouble on Wednesday night against the Raptors, but they overcame a 19-point deficit to rally and score a four-point victory as six-point underdogs.
Toronto shot just 50% from the free-throw line (18-of-36), which ultimately handed the game back to the Bulls. DeMar DeRozan’s daughter grabbed headlines for screaming at the top of her lungs while the Raptors were shooting from the line throughout the game. Toronto players insisted it wasn’t a distraction, but the numbers speak for themselves.
The Bulls have now won three straight games dating back to the regular season and they’ll be riding high coming off Wednesday’s thrilling win over Toronto. Not to mention the Bulls have absolutely dominated the Heat this season and have taken two games in Miami already.
About the Heat
Miami trailed by as many as 24 points in the second quarter on Tuesday and was physically dominated on the boards as Atlanta had a 63-39 rebounding advantage and a 26-6 edge in second-chance points.
Jimmy Butler scored 21 points, but was just 6-of-19 from the field. Kyle Lowry picked up the slack by making six three-pointers en route to a 33-point outburst, his highest production in two seasons with the Heat.
“So come Friday, we’ve got to play, like, legit the exact opposite that we played tonight,” Butler, who was disgusted with his team’s rebounding effort, said after Tuesday’s loss to Atlanta.
The Bulls will be without point guard Lonzo Ball, who underwent season-ending knee surgery in March.
Lowry (knee) is playing through an injury and is listed as questionable (although it would be shocking if he didn’t play) for the Heat. Butler missed practice Thursday due to personal reasons, but is expected to play Friday. Gabe Vincent (hip) is also questionable.
Betting trends to watch
- The Bulls are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine road games.
- The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.
- Miami has played over the total in five straight games.
- The over is 7-0 in Miami’s last seven home games.
Wagers to consider
- Bulls +5.5: -110. The health of Lowry and Vincent is concerning, as is Butler’s absence from practice on Thursday. Everything seems to be trending in the wrong direction for the Heat, who are winless against the Bulls this year. If Miami does find a way to pull this one out, it’ll likely come down to the wire. Five-plus points seems generous to give the Bulls in this spot.
- Nikola Vucevic over 10.5 rebounds: -115. Chicago’s centre is in a prime position here to exploit Miami’s weakness on the glass. The big man averaged 11 rebounds and he turned in 51 double-doubles (third in the NBA) this season. He also hauled in 13 rebounds against Toronto on Wednesday.