Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for Game 3 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series at the United Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Miami evened up this best-of-seven series with a convincing 115-78 victory over Chicago as 13-point home favorites in Game 2 Wednesday, while going OVER the betting total of 185.5.
The Heat are 9-4 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in the second round of the playoffs the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 8-5 in that situation.
Chicago allowed Miami to shoot 60 percent from the field last time out, which is a bit concerning, but the squad had already accomplished its task of stealing a game at AmericanAirlines Arena after advancing past the Brooklyn Nets in seven games in the previous series.
The Bulls are 26-18 SU and 14-30 ATS at home since the start of the regular season, with the UNDER going 26-18 in those 44 opportunities.
Getting out on the break
NBA handicappers are certainly aware that the Heat are at their best offensively when getting out in transition, which is clearly demonstrated in finishing with a 20-2 advantage in fast-break points last time out.
It’s also important to point out that NBA MVP LeBron James finished with 19 points, five rebounds and nine assists—with all of his scoring coming in the first half.
Deng and Hinrich
The Bulls have been battling injuries the entire season, as point guard Derrick Rose will likely continue sitting on the bench, but forward Luol Deng (illness) is listed as questionable to return after missing the last four contests.
Deng is important to what Chicago does on both ends of the floor, as he averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists during the regular season.
Kirk Hinrich (calf) is listed as doubtful to return to the lineup, but his presence hasn’t been missed as much due to the recent play of backup point guard Nate Robinson.
I’m going to recommend that readers play the first half total as one of their NBA picks Friday, as the UNDER is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings in the Windy City, with both teams finally settling in to this series.
NBA Pick: Under First Half