NBA Picks & Preview for Bulls vs. Heat

Steven Suarez

Sunday, February 23, 2014 3:36 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 3:36 PM GMT

The Bulls have won five games in a row but need a complete performance to make it six against the two-time defending champions. What's the play with our NBA picks?

Odds Overview

The Heat are rightly favored in this one, with oddsmakers listing the home team as six-point favorites for now. That line could easily change as we approach tipoff, so be sure to keep checking out

The total for this afternoon's game has opened at 186.5.

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Chicago Bulls

The Bulls had won three in a row heading into the All-Star Break and they've continued to play well since returning to action. They've beaten both Toronto and Denver, with the win over the Nuggets (117-89) coming in blowout fashion.

In front of a national television audience, Chicago controlled the game from start to finish. They held Denver to 40.2 percent shooting and hit 50.0 percent themselves, while connecting on 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from three.

All 12 active Bulls saw the court in the rout. Joakim Noah stuffed the boxscore again, recording 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a steal. Taj Gibson, D.J. Augustin and Tony Snell were all excellent off the bench, combining for 57 points between them.

Defensively is where Chicago stood out once more though. With that effort against the Nuggets, the Bulls have now given up just 85.6 points per game (on 41.9 percent shooting) over their last five.

Can they keep it going against LeBron and the Heat? On the road this season Chicago has gone 13-15 SU to go with an even 14-14 mark against the spread.

Miami Heat

On a winning run of their own, the Heat will be incredibly confident heading into today's home game. They've won four straight and seven of their last eight and just wrapped up a lengthy road trip which saw them go 5-1 SU and 4-1-1 ATS.

There were some very impressive wins in that span, including road triumphs over Oklahoma City, Dallas, Golden State and the LA Clippers.

The most recent came over Kevin Durant and the Thunder three days ago in a fantastic 103-81 winning effort. Miami was a three-point dog coming in but looked incredibly locked in on both ends of the court.

The shortened rotation seems to be working wonders for Erik Spoelstra. In the win, LeBron James had 33 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Dwyane Wade put up a 24/10/7 line, Chris Bosh had 24 points and eight boards and Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Chris Andersen all provided solid minutes off the bench.

Ahead of this afternoon's game though, we should note that the Heat haven't been a reliable team to back with your sports picks at home. They're a very poor 8-16 ATS in South Beach and will hope to improve that today.

NBA Pick

In two head-to-head meetings this season, we've seen a split, with each team winning both straight up and against the spread when at home.

Will it be more of the same in round three?

Don't be so sure. We actually think there's a lot of value in taking Chicago in this NBA betting spot. They've really been playing well defensively and they'll have a massive advantage inside with Noah, Boozer and Gibson. This is also as healthy as the Bulls have been in quite some time.

The Heat meanwhile could be in store for somewhat of a letdown after a high-intensity performance in Oklahoma City and we'll therefore be taking the feisty Bulls to cover as road dogs for our basketball picks.

NBA Pick: Bulls +6

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