2023-24 Eastern Conference Play-In: Best bets for Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Miami Heat lost Wednesday’s play-in game to the Philadelphia 76ers by one point–105-104–and, thus, will play the Chicago Bulls Friday evening in a do-or-die scenario.

The winner will go on to play the Boston Celtics in the first round, and the loser goes home. The Heat will, unfortunately, be without Jimmy Butler for the next few weeks with a sprained MCL, in addition to Terry Rozier, who’s dealing with a serious neck injury.

Whether or not they can take care of business is a separate question. Anyway, I’ve done best bets for these play-in games each of the last two years with a suboptimal success rate (the books love me!). We went 1-1 on Wednesday and fell one leg short of hitting our +410 SGP, so it could be worse!

But we’re giving yet another crack at it! Let’s dive into it!

(Note: all odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of 10:00 a.m. EST on Friday, April 18.)

Coby White o19.5 points (-135):

White, 24, has been nothing short of sensational for the Bulls this season. He averaged 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists on 44.7/37.6/83.8 shooting splits, even though his numbers have taken a slight step back since the All-Star break. Still, White is Chicago’s primary shot creator and should get ample opportunity in Friday’s game against Chicago.

He has cleared this line against Miami in three of their four meetings this season and in five of his seven career games against the Heat with at least 34 minutes played. White has cleared this line in 63.6 percent of his games this season with at least 40 minutes played and is coming off a 42-point performance in 43 minutes at home against the Atlanta Hawks. The ball will be in his hands a ton this game and is Chicago’s best multi-level scorer. Even against a sturdy Heat defense–albeit without Butler–that will throw the kitchen sink at him, I expect him to clear this line yet again.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. o16.5 points + assists (-112):

I’m going to buy some Jaime Jaquez stock while it’s hot in the streets. He’s surpassed this line in each of his last three games–albeit two coming against the lowly Raptors to close the regular season–but arguably no player benefits more from Jimmy Butler’s absence than Jaquez.

In 22 games without Butler, Jaquez is averaging 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists, surpassing this line in 14 of those games (63.6 percent). Not to mention, in his last three meetings against Chicago, he crushed this P+A (23, 26, 22). I think he does so again.

The Bulls allow the most catch-and-shoot 3s in the NBA and allow the highest assist percentage. Herro and Adebayo are likely going to draw the majority of attention, so if Jaquez gets ample touches (whether he starts or comes off the bench), I foresee him providing a boost, even in a slow-er paced game. He’s been in big games before at UCLA, so I don’t expect this do-or-die stage to faze him.

BONUS: DeMar DeRozan u31.5 points + rebounds (-102):

DeRozan led the NBA in minutes this season and will likely be in the top-2 in usage, so any under here is a scary play. 

That said, he’s fallen under this line in each of his last six meetings against Miami and in 11 of his last 13. I expect this to be a slow-paced game with a limited opportunity for possessions, thus I’m expecting DeRozan to have limited opportunity to capitalize. I would also expect Miami to try to keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible, which is also why I lean the under here, but crazier things have also happened!

Favorite Four-Leg SGP (also +410):

  • Tyler Herro 5+ AST
  • Coby White o2.5 3-pointers
  • Nikola Jovic 1+ 3-pointer
  • Under 208.5 points

Win for Jimmy!


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