NBA Playoff Betting Trends: #1 Chicago Bulls vs. #2 Miami Heat

Last Updated: May 15th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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At the outset of the season, pretty much all of the expert NBA handicappers out there thought that the Miami Heat would be the representatives in the Eastern Conference Finals playing host to the first two games of the series. Of course, everyone thought that the Boston Celtics would be the team that they were playing. The Chicago Bulls crashed the party though, and they are the team hosting the first two duels in this series. Check out our NBA playoff picks for this very, very highly anticipated series.

NBA Series Prices
Chicago +170 vs. Miami -190 @ Oddsmaker Sportsbook
Chicago +160 vs. Miami -185 @ SportBet Sportsbook
Chicago +160 vs. Miami -200 @ BetUS Sportsbook

Series Trends and History
The Heat had a heck of a time trying to beat any of the best teams in the league on a consistent basis this year, and Chicago was definitely no exception. In fact, the Bulls swept the season series with three straight wins, and they went 2-0-1 ATS to show for their work as well. Yet the oddsmakers are favoring the Heat in this series in spite of the fact that both of these teams have clearly hit their stride.

Miami reached this point in the playoffs by taking care of the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, both of which happened in five games. Chicago didn’t have to work all that hard either. Sure, the Bulls know that they struggled a bit more with the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks than perhaps they should of, but when push came to shove, winning out in five games and six games respectively, especially since the last two came in awesome fashion against the Hawks, was nothing to forget about.

The Heat are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against teams with a winning record. They’re also 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games. However, there is definitely a problem going against teams from the Central Division. Miami is only 0-5 ATS in its last five against the Central Division. To make matters worse, it is 0-5 ATS in its last six playoff games as an underdog.

The Bulls, on the contrary, have absolutely nothing to worry about. They dominated this year at home, going 36-5, and they are now 5-1 in the playoffs here at the United Center in the postseason. Chicago is 36-16-2 ATS in its last 54 games against teams with a winning record SU. It is also 12-2-2 ATS in its last 16 home games against teams with a winning road record.

Underdogs are 3-0-1 ATS in the last four games in this series. The home team though, is 5-2-1 ATS, while the Heat are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five trips to the Windy City.

Keys to the Series
Key 1: Home Court Advantage – The Bulls were never supposed to be able to snare home court advantage in the playoffs, but they did just that by playing well down the stretch and snaring the top overall seed, not just in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire league as well. We’ve already mentioned this great record for Chicago in its own backyard, but the Heat have yet to lose a game at American Airlines Arena as well in the playoffs. Things are amped up another notch in the playoffs, especially in a series like this, and the crowd can really be that sixth man on the court quite a bit. Chicago just cannot lose one of these first two games in this series, or the Heat are most likely going to end up winning this series in six games.

Key 2: The Role Players – Head Coach Tom Thibodeau knows that Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng aren’t going to be able to do all of this by themselves. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen also had men like Steve Kerr and Dennis Rodman in the Bulls’ great runs in the 90s. Kerr was the man with ice running through his veins, and the truth of the matter is that Kyle Korver could be the same type of player. We know that the Heat have three superstars in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but these three cannot win games by themselves. Whether it is James Jones, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, or any of the other role players that this team has, someone else is going to need to step up to be able to run with the Bulls.

Key 3: Series Fit For a King, or an MVP? – LeBron James has had a heck of a career, but the truth of the matter is that he has never won the big one. The Cleveland Cavaliers were never in a position where they were supposed to win the NBA Finals, but this time around, James and his new team in Miami are favored to win it all on the NBA Finals odds. Derrick Rose has stood in the face of every situation that he was never supposed to get through, and he has really played well in all of them. We know that both of these men are going to be taking 20+ shots per game. Though neither one is going to be able to win this series on their own, they can both lose it on their own. Rose and James are going to be the spotlight players in this series, and the NBA is going to know which one of its stars is really going to bring it into the next generation.

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Posted in NBA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, May 15th, 2011 @ 8:54 am (EST)
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