Heat vs. Bulls Line -2.5 Favoring Miami

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Feb/24/2011
Heat vs. Bulls Line

The Heat vs. Bulls line was coming in at -2.5 in favor of Miami despite Chicago’s impressive record and playing at home.  The total was listed at 191.5.  All odds courtesy of Sportsbook.com here

The streaking Miami Heat come into Thursday night winners of 11 of 12, but the Chicago Bulls are finally full strength getting their rebounding monster Joakim Noah back for Thursday’s matchup.

Miami hasn’t proven yet this year that it can hang with the league’s elite, going 1-6 against Boston, Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas and the L.A. Lakers. The last meeting on Jan. 15 with Chicago, Miami was missing LeBron James (26.2 PPG) and Chris Bosh (18.6 PPG) left the game early with a sprained ankle. The Bulls won the contest 99-96 despite Dwyane Wade (25.3 PPG) leading his team back from being down 14 and scoring 33 points. It is time for the Heat to answer the critics, starting a stretch where they will play 12 teams with winning records over the next 13 games. James would love to silence all the haters and put the Heat atop the Eastern Conference.

Chicago is coming in off an uncharacteristic 118-113 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. The Bulls who are third in the NBA in defense (92.9 PPG allowed) have to be disappointed after letting up 118 points to a below-average Raptors team. One positive is the return of their center Joakim Noah (13.8 PPG 11.9 RPG). Noah missed 30 games after thumb surgery, but the Bulls kept on trucking, going 22-8 in his absence. Derrick Rose (25.0 PPG) dropped 32 points in Wednesday’s defeat and has been red-hot, averaging 30.0 PPG over the past six games. Carlos Boozer (19.4 PPG) needs to help out with the scoring as he did Wednesday, pitching in 24 points, but that was his first game scoring 20 points or more in six contests.

The Bulls also lead the league in rebounding margin and outrebounded Miami by 10 the last time these teams met.

Miami has been solid in road games going 21-10 SU and 18-12 ATS. The problem with the Heat is their inconsistent play against teams with winning records (12-10 SU, 10-10 ATS). Chicago has been fantastic at home, notching a 25-4 SU record and a league-best 18-10 ATS home mark. Chicago is outscoring opponents by 10.0 PPG and holding them to a league-low 89.5 PPG at home. As a home underdog of three points or less, the Bulls are 3-0 ATS this year and 11-3 ATS over the last three seasons. When Chicago is an underdog, it has won 9 of 13 games against the spread. The Bulls also love to frustrate good offensive teams being 18-6 ATS versus teams who score 99.0 PPG or more. Miami is 2-8 SU (3-7 ATS) in its past 10 visits to United Center, with Dwyane Wade shooting 42.6% FG in his career there.

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