Opening Betting Line : Heat +2 / Bulls -2
Over/Under : 181
Game Time : 8 PM EST Sunday May 15, 2011 on TNT
The Bulls are the slight favorites in Game 1 of this series even though many are picking Miami to win the series. This Eastern Conference finals match up features players with the last 3 MVP trophies in Derrick Rose and LeBron James and both these guys are obviously keys to the series. Rose played well in the series win over Atlanta, but it showed that when he struggles with his shot the Bulls lose. Miami has a solid defense and if they can keep Rose from putting up big numbers they have a great chance to take Game 1 and snag home court advantage away from the Bulls.
In their last games the Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 93-73 on Thursday and the Heat beat the Boston Celtics 97-87 on Wednesday.
This season the Heat are 46-45-1 ATS and the Bulls are 55-36-2 ATS. The underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these 2 teams.
Dwyane Wade had a good series against Boston and in Game 1 in this series he will probably guard Rose and he must keep the MVP from getting into the lane and scoring easy buckets. If Wade and the Miami D can force Rose to settle for the jumper they have a big advantage. On the other side of the coin the Chicago defense has to worry about Wade on offense, as he scored at least 28 points in 4 of the 5 games in the Boston series.
The Big 3 are obviously the key for the Heat and King James, Wade, and Chris Bosh are the only guys that really give Miami much offense. Bosh has been inconsistent in the playoffs so far and he has to step up, especially on the boards.
Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah are beasts on the glass and Bosh will need help from James and C Joel Anthony. Noah’s energy is key for the Bulls in the paint and the Heat have to slow him down not allowing him to dominate the glass. Boozer and Luol Deng also must help Rose out on offense in this game.
The Bulls have the major advantage with their bench in this series and they will need some scoring from their reserves and if Kyle Korver can spread the floor by knocking down some 3’s the Bulls will be tough to beat.
In some other betting trends for this match up:
Miami is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 road games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, and has an Over record of 5-1 in their last 6 games.
Chicago is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite of 0.5-4.5, and has an Under record of 8-3 in their last 11 games against teams with a winning S.U. record.
In the last 7 games between these 2 teams in Chicago the total has gone Under.
Our Selection : The Bulls swept the Heat in the regular season and we see no reason why that verdict should change in the opener. The Bulls are at home and need to win by only 2 to take the money, so that's where our money will be.
Take the Bulls -2 at Bodog.
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