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The Miami Heat host the Chicago Bulls on Sunday evening in a matchup of two teams heading in different directions. Miami. Miami topped Washington 112-103 on Friday night for its fifth win in six games. The Heat are a perfect 9-0 at home with a 17.1 point margin of victory. Jimmy Butler notched his second triple-double of the week with a 28 point, 11 assists, 11 rebound outing on Friday. Butler's first triple-double came against Toronto in a 121-110 overtime win.
Chicago is coming off a 100-98 loss to Golden State on Friday. The Bulls, who rank in the bottom third of the NBA in points scored, shot 44.3% from the field in the loss. Zach LaVine has been on a tear recently with 22 or more points in six of his last seven games. LaVine's scoring streak began with a 49 point outing against Charlotte on November 23. Whether the Bulls can find solid production from the rest, may determine whether Chicago covers.
Bulls look to get back in win columnThe Chicago Bulls saw a rare two-game win streak come to an end Friday with a tight loss to Golden State. In a consistent theme this year, Chicago's supporting cast couldn't contribute enough offense to match Zach LaVine's team-high 22 points. Lauri Markkanen was another bright spot with his second 20 point outing in the last three games. The Bulls put out a depleted front court with Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison both out with injuries. Thaddeus Young, who missed Friday's game for personal issues, is expected to return Sunday.
✈️ MIA pic.twitter.com/ym6TyahUKt— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 7, 2019
Chicago's offense rating is second to last in the league according to NBA's advanced stats. After LaVine and Markkanen, the Bulls don't have anyone they can rely on for 20 points or more on a regular basis. Rookie Coby White is playing better as of late with double digits in scoring in three of the last four games. Wendell Carter Jr. is a double-double threat with 12.3 points and 10 rebounds per game. Shooting guard Tomas Satoransky leads the team with 5.3 assists per game.
Butler pacing Heat to great startThe Miami Heat remained unbeaten at home with a convincing win over Washington on Friday night. Jimmy Butler is playing his best stretch of basketball since moving to South Beach with a pair of triple-doubles and a 37-point outing Wednesday night over his last three games. Butler hit 10 3-pointers in that span. Miami's offense could take a hit Sunday as Bam Adebayo is listed as questionable with a groin contusion. Adebayo is coming off one of his highest-scoring outings of the year -- 24 points against the Wizards. Adebayo also leads the team with 10.4 rebounds per game.
9-0 at the crib pic.twitter.com/a0RgTHjDWu— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 7, 2019
The Heat will also be without Goran Dragic as he too battles a groin injury. Dragic is Miami's second-leading scorer and second top assist man behind Butler. Expect Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro to take on elevated roles in Dragic's absence. The two rookies are combining to score nearly 30 ppg. Miami's offense gets most of the attention but its defense is impressive as well. The Heat hold opponents to 105.5 ppg.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last five games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Bulls are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a road underdog.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Chicago Bulls are killing it ATS this year as a road underdog, and I expect them to keep Sunday's matchup tight as well. Yes, Miami is 9-0 at home and will likely remain unbeaten, but the Heat are likely to be without two of their four leading scorers in Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. Those two combine to bring in over 30 ppg on average. The Heat will have to rely on their rookie guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn to step up in the others' places. Zach LaVine should take advantage of Dragic's absence in particular en route to another big scoring night.
Prediction: Chicago Bulls +7
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 14-6 in the last 20 meetings between these two. Chicago's last six games have all resulted in totals of 211 or lower. Miami, as noted before, is without two of its top scorers: Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. Additionally, the under is 9-3-1 in the Heat's last 13 games following a straight up win. All these trends and updates point to this one going under in my mind.
Prediction: Under 212