Do Bulls Have Miami?s Number?
JIM HURLEY'S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK
CHICAGO NOW 4-0 THIS YEAR VS. THE BOYS FROM SOUTH BEACH
The Chicago Bulls may lead their Eastern Conference Championship series with the Miami Heat by one game to none. But, they're actually now ahead FOUR games to none for the season. Chicago won all three regular season meetings in very similar fashion. Then, under playoff pressure, played even BETTER and won more impressively!
Does Chicago have Miami's number?
That's not something that serious handicappers usually place a lot of weight on. But, matchup advantages and superior coaching can lead to dominance in certain head to head rivalries that will take on the appearance of "having somebody's number" in the eyes of the media.
We don't care so much about the media. But, because the media plays such a big role in influencing public bettors...and, because the Vegas betting markets are rating Miami as the superior team in this matchup even though they're 0-4 straight up (!!), this is certainly a topic that YOU need to be thinking about. What if Chicago's the better team? By a few points? Then they're going to be a steal most nights.
You may think this isn't possible in the NBA playoffs...with teams oddsmakers have been watching all season...with games that are all nationally televised so there aren't any secrets being kept from the public or Wise Guys...with an 82-game season and two rounds of playoff action in the databases for the statheads...could EVERYONE misread a series by that much?
YES! It seems to happen every year in the East. We've talked about this often the past few seasons in particular. Vegas will have the wrong team favored at the beginning, and never get close to fixing the problem (hey, they don't need to if everyone's betting the wrong way anyway!). Cleveland was supposed to cakewalk to the Eastern title last year. They couldn't get past Boston in the second round. When Orlando beat Boston the prior year, and Boston surprised people in their championship campaign, the lines literally NEVER caught up to reality.
For a recent example, go to Lakers/Mavericks in the West from the prior round. The Lakers were priced as the better team in every single meeting once you accounted for home court advantage. WHILE GETTING SWEPT!
Now, we're not saying Miami is on the verge of getting swept. But, we at least want you to be on the lookout for these matchup edges that have favored Chicago head-to-head so far:
- Chicago can DEFEND THE STARS! Nobody can completely shut down LeBron James or Dwayne Wade. And, Chris Bosh can be hard to handle if you're devoting all of your resources to the first two. But, the Bulls great defense can disrupt and slow down the Miami stars. That gives them a fighting chance to win every game. Chicago has defenders with speed and length. Chicago has defensive depth too, which means the backups can come in and disrupt things as well. Miami just hasn't solved this riddle satisfactorily yet. They have to do that four times in the next six games.
- Miami CAN'T DEFEND DERRICK ROSE! Well, they can throw LeBron at him every so often. But, that just wears down LeBron's offensive potential. The point guard position has been a weak spot all year for Miami. This is the worst possible opponent to face when you're weak at point guard.
- Chicago OWNS THE BOARDS! Miami tends to send it's players back when one of their shots goes up to defend. That means they basically forfeit the offensive rebounding stat to the Bulls. Chicago will get second chance points because Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and a few guys off the bench can tip in misses or grab a rebound and re-boot the possession. Miami doesn't do this very often. That point differential can really matter in a close game.
You've heard us say a million times that "defense and rebounding wins championships." Chicago has defended Miami's attack better so far this year than Miami has defended Chicago's. Chicago is going to win rebounding unless Miami changes its strategy (which is very possible given a -12 rebounding deficit in Game One). Right now, that and a 4-0 heads up record points to Chicago winning the East.
GAME TWO: MIAMI at CHICAGO
Chicago leads 2-0
Vegas Line: Chicago by 2, total of 181.5
The team side line didn't move up at all. That's very interesting because many bettors like to take the Game One loser in Game Two. And, Miami got A LOT of market support in Game Four in Boston afte losing Game Three. That didn't happen here. Chicago was so impressive in the opener that it either discouraged the bounce back bettors...or Chicago money has come in at this price to balance out the bounce back money. The total is up a point from 180.5 since the first game landed on 185.
GAME ONE STATS
CHICAGO 103, MIAMI 82
Shooting Percentage: Miami 47%, Chicago 44%
Three-Pointers: Miami 3/8, Chicago 10/21
Free Throws: Miami 15/15, Chicago 17/20
Rebounds: Miami 33, Chicago 45
Turnovers: Miami 16, Chicago 9
Vegas Line: Chicago by 2, total of 180.5
Notebook: Miami did shoot better from the floor than Chicago did. But, trying to condense on Derrick Rose when he drove freed up the Bulls for open look three-pointers that they drained at a great clip. In fact, Chicago shot roughly the same on three-pointers as Miami did on two-pointers! Throw in advantages at the free throw line (as Chicago avoided foul calls when trying to disrupt James and Wade), turnovers (because Miami often runs into traffic and can't figure out how to get out of trouble), and rebounds (discussed earlier), and you get a blowout result.
There were a lot of Miami fans who thought they might lose a close game because the Heat really haven't figured out how to score late in close games other than hoping LeBron makes a three-pointer. Very few Miami fans imagined THIS, up-and-down dominance from the Bulls in everything that mattered.
JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK had the Bulls in Game One. We can't tell you here in the NOTEBOOK if we're going to ride D-Rose again, or if we're playing the bounce back based on expected adjustments. We can tell you that:
- We know how often in the past Game One losers have bounced back, and how often they haven't.
- We know from our on site sources what Miami's gameplan is going to be in this critical battle.
- We know from our on site sources whether or not Chicago's getting overconfident after scoring such an impressive victory.
- We know from our Wise Guy connections in Las Vegas and offshore how the money is coming down so far. The public is doing one thing. The Wise Guys are doing another. We'll be in line with the smart money rather than the dumb money!
You can purchase our Game Two selection (possibly a side and total) here at the website with your credit card. Or, sign up for the rest of the playoffs and get the full Eastern and Western Conference championships along with the NBA Finals for a great rate. Be sure to check on our red hot Major League Baseball too. Everyone's playing short two-game series Wednesday and Thursday before a huge Interleague weekend starts Friday. Games of interest today and tomorrow include:
Detroit at Boston
NY Yankees at Baltimore
Colorado at Philadelphia
San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers
Then, this weekend, IL rivalry battles like Mets/Yankees, Cards/Royals, Reds/Indians, A's/Giants, and Rays/Marlins will highlight the card.
Oh, and there's also THE PREAKNESS on Saturday as the 2011 Triple Crown schedule continues!
It's the perfect time to sign up with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK. This may be the single most exciting week of sports until football returns in the Fall! Don't you dare make a move in any of this week's big events until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!
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