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2011 NBA Playoff Odds: Heat vs. Bulls Series Preview | Pick

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS PLAYOFF Predictions: Heat vs Bulls Series Preview

Before nba betting fans turn their attention to NBA Playoff basketball betting events this week, we have some more good NBA first round series Previews on tap, and our man Lawrence weighs in with his picks for the series. It’s time for our weekly hoops picks for NBA gambling action.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS MIAMI vs. CHICAGO COMPLETE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 1 – Sun May 15 Miami at Chicago 8:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed May 18 Miami at Chicago 8:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Sun May 22 Chicago at Miami 8:30PM TNT
Game 4 – Tue May 24 Chicago at Miami 8:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Thu May 26 Miami at Chicago 8:30PM TNT
Game 6 * Sat May 28 Chicago at Miami 8:30PM TNT
Game 7 * Mon May 30 Miami at Chicago 8:30PM TNT*If necessary
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Odds to win Series
Chicago +165
Miami -190

Odds to win NBA title
Bulls 7/2
Heat 5/4

Do you get the feeling that the NBA championship will be played out in Chicago and Miami over the next two weeks? This series has the look and feel of a Red Sox-Yankees ALCS, with the winner having only to go through the motions against a much-weaker National League opponent.

Props to Memphis, Oklahoma City and Dallas in a Western Conference that has been turned upside down by the rarest of NBA occurrences – playoff upsets. But Chicago, and especially Miami, both look like the best bets now to host downtown parades in late-June.

If you buy that theory, this series is basically for the brass ring, and here’s how it could break down:

DEFENSE

Tom Thibodeau came in as a defensive coach, and nothing that has happened since training camp last October has changed that M.O. The Bulls bought in on Day 1, and they still play the kind of defense that every coach this side of Doug Moe dreams about. They’re active, they rotate, they put bodies on offensive players when the ball goes up, and they pretty much make life miserable because opponents have to deal with it for 48 minutes.

But not so fast. Does Chicago really have a huge advantage defensively? The Heat can bring it themselves. LeBron James is about as good as it gets for NBA on-the-ball defenders, Dwyane Wade is not far behind, and the Miami defense is so quick on the perimeter that it takes pressure off the front line. When the Heat ratcheted things up in the final minutes of Game 5 against the Celtics, there was not much Boston could do. The Heat scored the final 16 points in that game as the defense dominated.

THE WOW FACTOR AND THE REFEREES

If you believe, as I do, that stars get a disproportionate share of the calls in the NBA, then figure on the Heat to get twice as many (James, Wade) than the Bulls (Derrick Rose) get. If the series goes the distance, four or five of the seven games could go the distance, and whichever team gets to the line more late in those games will probably win it. Wade was virtually unstoppable at times in the Boston series, partly because the Celtics couldn’t concentrate on him alone. Look for lots of free throws late in these games.

WHAT HAS ROSE GOT LEFT IN THE TANK?

Will the MVP begin to wear down mentally as pressure builds on him to either score or create in every half-court set? Will the Heat try to beat him up physically the way they did with Rajon Rondo? Will he get frustrated with double-team after double-team? Usually when one player scores a lot of points, the team struggles. That’s not the case with the Bulls, who need Rose around the 30 mark every game. Rose has now played 92 games this season, and his minutes have gone up in the playoffs. Sitting him more is not an option the way Chicago’s offense rolls.

THE PICK: The Bulls give 2 in the opener, and Chicago has not been a dominant home team in the playoffs, going only 3-3 ATS in the United Center. Bulls fans breathed a sigh of relief when Carlos Boozer went for 23 and 10 against the Hawks in the Game 6 clincher. A half-decent Boozer gives Chicago a second scoring option behind Rose and forces the Heat to defend the whole floor, which they didn’t have to do against Boston.

It will be interesting to see if Chicago is prepared to play for 48 minutes a game – against the occasionally disinterested Hawks they could coast here and there and not take on too much water. Miami is a different story.

The Heat are favored in this series for good reason. Right now they are playing better than anyone in the league. You may not like them, but they are on their way to an NBA title. Heat in 6.

Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling expert from Massachusetts.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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