NBA Picks: Bulls vs. Heat Odds Preview

Steven Suarez

Sunday, April 14, 2013 2:02 PM GMT

The Heat have been top dogs this season, but have had their fair share of trouble when up against the Bulls. What's our NBA pick for today's afternoon tilt in South Beach?

Odds Overview 

The spread for this Eastern Conference battle has been released, with the Bulls favored by either 8.5 or 9 points depending on the book.

Both teams can lock things down on defense when on their game, which is why we see a total of 189 on the NBA odds boards this afternoon. The UNDER has hit in four of the previous five matchups between these two teams. 

Chicago Bulls 

The Bulls, one night after an inspired overtime win over New York, fell short in Toronto, losing 97-88 as 2.5-point underdogs.

It was a sloppy performance from the Bulls. They turned the ball over 18 times and were out-classed on the fast break (23-6) and in the paint. Carlos Boozer and Nazr Mohammed both had double-doubles, but Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, and Kirk Hinrich combined for only 20 points between them. 

With the loss, Chicago moved to 1-3 SU over their last four and 1-4 ATS over their last five. They've had a lot of success against Miami in the past though, covering the spread in five of the previous seven meetings. 

Rip Hamilton has been suspended for today's game, while Joakim Noah (foot) and Taj Gibson (knee) are listed as questionable due to injuries. 

Still, the Bulls have been able to fight through with replacement rotations all season long. Can they do it again against the defending champions? 

Be sure to check out our NBA Picks of the Day for more hot tips here!

Miami Heat 

It took a little time for the Heat's Big Three to get accustomed to one another again, but they eventually found their groove, leading to a 109-101 win over Boston on Friday night. 

The Celtics put up a good fight without their best two players in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but the Heat were hitting everything. They shot 54.9 percent overall and 52.2 percent from beyond the arc. 

LeBron James finished with 20 points, nine assists, and six rebounds, while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and Norris Cole all scored in double figures too. In total, the Heat bench scored 52 points, 40 more points than what Boston's second unit was able to register. 

It was Miami's fifth straight win, a streak in which they've gone 4-1 against the spread. The Heat have also managed to cover in five straight Sunday contests. 

Before placing your NBA picks for today, however, make sure you know the health status of Miami's players. Wade said he felt some discomfort against the Celtics, so there's a slight chance he could be rested. 

[gameodds]5/224747/43-19-999996-92/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick 

It's the fourth and final regular season meeting tonight, and it's Chicago that's actually leading the series 2-1, both straight up and against the spread. 

As for our recommendation today, we feel there is value on siding with the Bulls for the first half. 

Miami tends to find a way to win no matter what and they've had to battle their way back from deficits many times. Nonetheless, we think the Bulls will come out with confidence here, despite their recent struggles, as they've been one of the few teams that have been able to be competitive with the Heat this season.

Not often do you see a team that almost has a better record on the road than they do on their own court. Chicago has done well away from home and we like them to come out with a lot of energy, helping them to a cover in the first half. 

Free Pick: Chicago Bulls 1H +5 at bookmaker.eu