An injury riddled and weary Bulls squad is in South Florida today as it prepares for a Game 1 clash with the defending champion Miami Heat. The two Eastern Conference rivals are scheduled to take the court at the AmericanAirlines Arena at 7:00pm ET tonight; the game will be broadcast live on TNT. The latest 2013 NBA Playoff Picks have the Heat listed as a -12 against the spread and -1000 moneyline favorite ($1000 wins $100). The Over/Under in this evening’s contest is set at 187 points.
The Bulls needed seven games to get past the Brooklyn Nets, which leaves them in a precarious position as they open their best of seven set with Miami. Chicago, with all of injury and illness issues (Hinrich, Deng, Rose), could have used a little rest before attempting to do what most consider the impossible.
The rest instead went to the Heat, who completed their opening round series with Milwaukee on April 28th. Miami swept the Bucks and it limited Milwaukee to an average of 85.3 points per game in doing so.
Those numbers should put a scare into the Bulls, who have more than their share of offensive troubles. Without the services of Rose, Chicago is a limited offensive team, but it overcame the former MVP’s absence by playing a suffocating brand of defense.
The Bulls will certainly need a stellar defensive effort tonight in order to keep this game close. Miami may be a bit rusty from its extended down time, but recent home history against Chicago would suggest the Bulls are in trouble. The Heat are 7-2 in their last nine home games opposite Chicago (includes playoffs), turning back the Bulls by an average of 9.6 points per game.
Notable Trends: The Over is 8-2 in the Heat’s last 10 games as a home favorite with a spread between 11 and 13.5 points. The Heat are 8-2 straight up and 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games as a home favorite with a total between 185 and 190 points.
Chicago Bulls +12 (-110), Over 187 (-110), +600 (Moneyline)
Miami Heat -12 (-110), Under 187 (-110), -1000 (Moneyline)
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