Bulls vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Chicago Bulls travel to Miami to face the Heat on Monday night in a highly anticipated matchup between the two teams with the best records in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat (40-21) have a one-game lead over the Bulls (39-22) and would clinch the season series with a win on Monday after already winning the two previous games against the Bulls, 107-104 and 118-92.
Both teams will be shorthanded without key guards available, but does this give either side an edge with the Bulls playing as four-point underdogs? Let’s break down the matchup below.
Bulls Need Secondary Scoring Tonight
If the Bulls cover or win outright, they need DeMar DeRozan to continue his run of incredibly efficient scoring while Nikola Vucevic finds his 3-point shot. Lonzo Ball (knee), Alex Caruso (wrist), and Patrick Williams (wrist) all remain out while Vucevic (ankle) is probable to play on Monday.
DeRozan has put together an incredible February as he has scored 30 or more points in 10 straight games. His remarkable eight-game streak of 35 or more points on 50% or better shooting was snapped on Saturday night in the Bulls’ 116-110 loss to the Grizzlies.
DeRozan has been a midrange assassin as his 50% accuracy on all midrange shots ranks in the 89th percentile among all forwards (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass) while doing so on high volume.
His ability to get to the middle of the floor and score in late-game situations has been a big reason why the Bulls remain just a game behind the Heat for the best record in the East. They have the best Win Differential (the difference between the number of games a team has won and what would be expected based on that team’s efficiency differential) of 4.2 in the NBA, meaning they’ve been a bit lucky.
DeRozan has been incredible lately, but with Zach LaVine still working to get back to 100% after dealing with knee soreness recently, Vucevic needs to step up. Vucevic has struggled in the two losses to the Heat so far this season as he has scored a combined 17 points while making just 6 of 24 shots from the field (including 1-7 on 3s).
Against a Heat defense that is designed to limit shots at the rim, Vucevic will play a valuable role as a capable interior scorer, passer who can collapse the defense, and shooter from the perimeter. Vucevic has been struggling with his 3-point shot lately as he has made only 31% of his 3s on the year and over his last 10 games played has made just seven of 40 3-pointers (17.5%).
Heat a Different Team Without Lowry
The Heat win and cover as home favorites if two out of the three of Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson and Max Strus have big games. Without Kyle Lowry, the Heat will need Adebayo and shooters to step up so that the Heat’s halfcourt offense doesn’t become stagnant and there isn’t too much pressure on Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro.
Lowry (personal reasons), Victor Oladipo (knee) and Markieff Morris (neck) are all out on Monday while Caleb Martin (left Achilles soreness) is questionable. Martin would give the Heat another long and athletic body to guard DeRozan or LaVine.
Butler and Herro will get theirs for the Heat offensively, but without Lowry to set up others in ideal spots in the halfcourt, Adebayo and the Heat’s shooters need to score efficiently in this matchup. Adebayo will look to keep his momentum rolling after scoring a season-high 36 points in the previous game against the Spurs. If Adebayo stays this aggressive, he will give the Heat another dangerous scoring option in the halfcourt.
Example of that right jab, left attack
With the Spurs defense so worried about the post split that’s coming, Bam just goes to work
And when there’s so much focus on weak-side off-ball movement, no baseline help is coming to Bam
This is when he’s at his best pic.twitter.com/a728BUdDTq
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) February 27, 2022
With Lowry out, Gabe Nnamdi Vincent will get the start at the point, and he will play a key role as both a facilitator and scorer. In the Heat’s first matchup with the Bulls in Chicago earlier this season, Vincent led the team in scoring while coming off the bench to score 20 points while making four of eight 3s.
His shooting along with Robinson and Strus’s will be important as the need their spacers to keep their halfcourt offense efficient. Robinson hasn’t shot the ball up to his lofty standards this season, but in the Heat’s second matchup with the Bulls this season, he led the team with 26 points while connecting on 5 of 9 3-pointers.
With Lowry out, I don’t love laying the points with the Heat against a red-hot DeRozan and the Bulls. The Heat’s halfcourt offense will take a hit without him, and his ability to get Adebayo and the Heat’s shooters easy looks will be missed.
While I lean toward the Heat winning, I don’t love the current value on the board and may look to play them on the live moneyline at even money or better. Instead, I like the under at 225.5 in this matchup as the Heat, who play at the 28th fastest Pace in the NBA, will play even slower without Lowry. Vucevic has been cold from beyond the arc for the Bulls, and LaVine also may not be fully healthy after returning from a knee injury.
The Heat’s defense should have the ammunition to hold the others in check around DeRozan while putting challenging defenders on him like Butler, PJ Tucker, Adebayo and Martin.
Take the under at 225.5 at BetMGM with value down to 223.
Pick: Under 225.5 (BetMGM)