This is a matchup of the top two teams by record in the Eastern Conference, making this a very enchanting encounter, especially for a Monday. Who might have the edge?
With Chicago losing at home to Memphis on Saturday and Miami winning in a wildly high-scoring game over San Antonio (40.5 points over the closing line total in regulation), the Heat have taken over the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
That sets the scene for what should be an excellent confrontation between the NBA’s No. 8 scoring offense (Chicago) vs. the No. 5 scoring defense (Miami).
Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
Monday, February 28, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at FTX Arena
The betting odds at PointsBet have Miami as a 3.5-point home favorite. Given the total of 225.5 from the top-rated sportsbooks, what team does that favor?
Chicago Having a Great Season, But…
If you would have asked any Bulls front office person or fan of the team before the season if they would be happy if their club had a 39-22 (36-25 ATS) record on Feb. 28, you would have heard a “Hell ya” and seen a big smile.
While none of these people would deny they are thrilled to have a team with the 2nd best record in the East, results change perspectives. Case in point, we start with coach Billy Donovan’s squad ranking 5th in their conference in scoring margin at +2.2. Boston, Miami, Cleveland, and Milwaukee all rank ahead of them in the East as do six other clubs from the Western Conference.
Though not foolproof, this is a good measurement of just how strong any team is against the entire league.
What cannot be ignored about the Bulls is how they have played against the best teams. If you take the current five best teams in the East (of which Chicago is one of them) and the five finest from the West, the Bulls are 2-9 SU and 4-7 ATS against that entire group. If you are headed to the postseason, this is something that has to be fixed.
Miami Relies on Their Versatility to Win
Because Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn have not met preseason expectations, Miami, like a light south Florida breeze, quietly has put together a very good season to ascend atop the conference standings.
At 40-21 (34-25-2 ATS), you have to keep in mind how Miami has accomplished this. Only four players on the Heat roster have played as many as 50 games and not one of them is among the team’s top four scorers. Duncan Robinson leads his club in appearances with 58 and he is 5th in scoring at 11.4 points a night.
That means with Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry having missed time, all the bench players on coach Erik Spoelstra’s roster have stepped up admirably and done the job.
It’s easy to forget after last year’s forgettable year as a six-seed and early exit from the postseason, the season before, Miami played in The Finals versus the L.A. Lakers in the Orlando bubble, where they showed what they were capable of.
With almost everyone at or close to near 100% health, the Heat could stay hot going into the playoffs come April.
Bulls vs. Heat Free Pick Prediction
Given the total of 225.5, that favors the Bulls for NBA picks, with the average score of one of their road games at 220.2. with Miami at 215.5 for home contests.
Both clubs are at about 225 total points based on their past five encounters, however, the Heat’s figure is skewed because their last game against the Spurs was 262 total points.
The opening line on this matchup was Miami at -5 and given Chicago’s woes versus similar or better opponents, it’s hard not to support the Heat at the shorter number, knowing they are 10-1 ATS versus good three-point shooting teams making 36% or higher of their attempts this season.
NBA Pick: Heat -3.5 (-110) at PointsBet