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NBA Play-In Tournament: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat Betting Preview

The final Eastern Conference play-in game will happen Friday night as the No. 10 Chicago Bulls (41-42) take on the No. 7 Miami Heat (44-39). The Heat will host this one at the Kaseya Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 pm ET.

The winner of this matchup will secure the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and they will take on the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. As for the loser, this will be the end of the road for whoever loses.

The Heat are the favorites in this one playing at home. They are -220 to win, while the Bulls’ moneyline sits at +184. The spread features Chicago +5.5 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 208 (-110).

Bulls Look For Back-To-Back Road Upsets

Coming into this play-in tournament as the last seed, there weren’t high expectations for the Chicago Bulls. Still, they were able to take down the Toronto Raptors on the road 109-105, and they will look for their second straight road upset as they travel to Miami.

In that victory over Toronto, the Bulls trailed at one point by 19 points. They outscored the Raptors 37-24 in the fourth quarter, though, en route to the victory. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 39 points, while DeMar DeRozan (23 points, 7 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (14 points, 13 rebounds) also had solid games.

Chicago should come into this one with a lot of confidence. After all, they went a perfect 3-0 against the Heat this season. Their last matchup was on March 18th, when the Bulls clobbered Miami 113-99 at home.

Offensively, the Bulls rank 22nd in scoring, averaging 113.1 points per game. Chicago ranks seventh in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 111.7 points per game (99.3 over their last three contests).

Miami Looks To Bounce Back From First Round Loss

As the No. 7 seed, the Heat had an opportunity to secure the same seed in the playoffs if they could win their opening round play-in game over the Atlanta Hawks. Despite playing at home, they couldn’t get it done, losing 116-105. Trying to bounce back, they will get another opportunity to win on their own court Friday night.

In that loss to the Hawks, Kyle Lowry had a game-high 33 points, while Tyler Herro added 26 and Jimmy Butler added 21. It still wasn’t enough as the Heat went into halftime down 65 to 50, and they could never recover in the second half.

Despite the loss against the Hawks, Miami has still played relatively well at home. They were 27-14 during the regular season at home.

Miami relies on one of the best defenses in the league to succeed. Their defense ranked second, allowing opponents an average of 109.9 points per game (113.3 in their last three). Offensively they struggle, though, averaging just 109.4 points per game (dead last in the NBA).

Take Chicago And The Points

While Miami might be able to bounce back and pull this one off at home, there is still a lot of value taking Chicago and the points.

First, Chicago has already shown they matchup well with Miami, sweeping the season series. Furthermore, they come in with some momentum having already won on the road in their first play-in game.

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to take Chicago straight up in this one, but at the very least, there is a lot of value in taking Chicago +5.5 on the spread (-110).

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