To say that the Bulls are a dumpster fire right now would be an insult to dumpster fires. Chicago has dropped 9 straight games and they’ve been blown out by 30+ in two of the last four. To be fair, the last five Bulls defeats have come in the midst of a West Coast road trip. The Heat come to the United Center in the January 19th NBA free pick as -3 point favorites. Miami has dropped two in a row in their own rights. Does getting back home give Chicago the boost?
Does Miami’s Size Give Them the Edge?
Saturday marks the second meeting at the United Center between these two teams. In the first game, Miami scored a 103-96 win largely due in part to the play of their big men. Hassan Whiteside tallied 18 points and 10 boards while Bam Adebayo contributed 14 and 13 off the bench. The Heat dominating down low will be a very similar theme in the January 19th NBA free pick – especially with starting C Wendell Carter, Jr. (thumb) out for Chicago.
Miami doesn’t like leaving South Beach – and who can blame them? Erik Spoelstra’s team is 10-10 on the road this season but they’ve dropped their last three away contests. Saturday marks Miami’s third road tilt in a row and to make matters worse they are in part two of a B2B after a 93-98 loss in Detroit last night. Whiteside played just 19 minutes last night so he should be ready for full usage vs. the Bulls. Spoelstra has managed back-to-back’s well also as Miami has a 22-8-1 ATS record their last 31 on 0 days rest.
Do the Bulls Even Want a Win?
If Chicago wasn’t going to ‘tank’ the rest of the year, their recent 5-game road swing out West should’ve provided good convincing to do just that. The Bulls were destroyed 109-146 by Golden State and lost 104-135 in Denver on Thursday. Granted those are two elite teams, but the Bulls’ 9 game losing streak also includes an 84-112 home loss to Orlando and a 17 point defeat at the hands of the Nets. Chicago has scored 105 or less in 4 of 5 with the league’s dead last offense in points/game. The Bulls have also given up 124+ on defense in 3 of 5.
Chicago does catch a couple breaks in the January 19th NBA free pick. First off Miami comes in on a back-to-back although it is a short trip from Detroit. The Heat could also be without leading scorer Josh Richardson for the 2nd straight contest as he missed the Pistons game with an illness. Lauri Markkanen may have found his shooting stroke as he went for 27 points the last time out vs. the Nuggets. Zach Lavine may also improve back at the United Center. Lavine had just 10 and 8 points in the last two games of the road swing.
January 19th NBA Free Pick Betting
The Heat on paper seem like kind of a tough wager considering they’re on the road for their 3rd straight not to mention in a back-to-back. That being said, Miami is 9-4 ATS their last 13 road games and Spoelstra has done a nice job coaching in the back-to-back. Richardson will also likely play considering he’s missed just 2 games all year. Plus, Miami needs this game as they’ve fallen to 7th in the East.
NBA Free Pick: Miami Heat -3