NBA Opening Night Battle: Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat
Betting Odds Courtesy of 5dimes
For two straight season the Chicago Bulls finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, but last season was a bit different for Tom Thibodeau’s team as it played without its one-time MVP Derrick Rose.
Rose hurt his ACL in the 2012 playoffs and sat the entire regular season last year, but judging by his preseason form, he’s back and ready to take the Bulls into contention again. LeBron James said he will wish Rose the best, but also said this week that the teams do not like one another. It is the best rivalry in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls also said they will pass on watching the Heat receive their rings before the game. The mission in Chicago remains on returning to elite status and contending again. The Bulls grew a lot as a team without Rose and now that they have their scoring punch back, Bulls fans are confident that the team defense, chemistry, and coaching will result in the good basketball that Thibbs has become known for.
In Miami, LeBron and company are focused on a three-peat, but this may be the toughest one yet. Indiana and Chicago are both strong competition in the East, and it may be that the Heat face their toughest test in the Eastern Conference Finals. The team will need more from Chris Bosh this season with Dwyane Wade declining further, but as long as LBJ is doing his thing the Heat will be a tough team to beat.
Luol Deng vs. LeBron James
Luol Deng has now made two All-Star teams, and it’s probably safe to say he’s still under the radar of a lot of casual fans. Deng can D up LeBron about as well as anyone in the league, and flanking the other wing will be Jimmy Butler, who will lineup against Dwyane Wade. Butler may see time on LBJ, too, but what gives Chicago a chance against Miami is the defense of Deng and Butler on the perimeter.
Bulls Betting Trends:
2-11 ATS in last 13 when opponent allows 100 points or more in previous game; OVER 5-1 in last 6 TUES games; OVER 5-1 in last 6 when following ATS loss
Heat Betting Trends:
4-0 ATS in last 4 following SU loss of 10-plus; 0-4 ATS in last 4 TUES; 4-0 ATS in last 4 following a double-digit loss at home.
Head-to-head: OVER 5-2 in last 7 meetings.
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