Bulls vs. Heat NBA expert prediction and odds for Eastern Conference play-in tournament

Can the Bulls earn the No. 8 seed in the East? The odds are shifting in their favor...
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White.
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 8 seed is on the line on Friday night and the Chicago Bulls are in position to steal it.

Chicago entered the play-in tournament as the No. 9 seed in the East, but it stormed past the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night behind a 42-point game from Most Improved Player candidate Coby White. 

Now, the team gets a crack at the Miami Heat – on the road – who could be down star Jimmy Butler after he injured his knee in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Wednesday’s action. If Butler doesn’t go, Chicago may end up as the favorite in this matchup. 

Right now, the Bulls are slight underdogs (1.5 points) at FanDuel Sportsbook. With a chance to make the playoffs and face Boston in the first round, can Chicago advance on Friday?

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Let’s break down the odds, key players and my best bet for this matchup: 

Bulls vs. Heat odds, spread and total

Bulls vs. Heat how to watch

  • Date: Friday, April 19
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Kaseya Center
  • How to watch (TV): ESPN
  • Bulls record: 39-43
  • Heat record: 46-36

Bulls vs. Heat injury reports

Bulls injury report

The Bulls have not submitted an injury report yet for this game, but the team likely won’t have defensive ace Alex Caruso after he suffered an ankle injury on Wednesday night against Atlanta. 

Ayo Dosunmu, Javonte Green, and Jevon Carter would be options to replace some of Caruso’s minutes in the rotation. 

Heat injury report

Miami has yet to submit an injury report for this game, but the Heat could be without star Jimmy Butler, who injured his knee in Wednesday’s loss to the Sixers. 

Not only that, but the Heat also didn’t have Terry Rozier (neck) on Wednesday. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to return for this game. 

Bulls vs. Heat key players to watch

Chicago Bulls

Coby White: Coby White set a new career-high on Wednesday, dropping 42 points on 15-of-21 shooting against the Hawks. White also added nine boards, six assists, and two steals in an absolute masterclass of a performance. It’ll be interesting to see if Miami can slow him down on Friday. 

Miami Heat

Tyler Herro: After missing a lot of the regular season due to injury, Herro is going to be called upon for a massive role with Butler banged up on Friday. The former Sixth Man of the Year had 25 points and nine dimes against the Sixers, but he shot just 9-for-27 from the field. He needs to be more efficient if Miami is going to win on Friday.

Bulls vs. Heat prediction and pick

Miami is in trouble if Butler doesn’t play, and there is a key trend to know for this matchup if the odds shift further toward the Bulls.

This season, the Heat are an NBA-worst 1-9 against the spread as home underdogs, and they’re trending in that direction if Butler and Rozier can’t play on Friday night. 

Chicago looked lethal on Wednesday, shooting the lights out from beyond the arc (11-for-26) while keeping Trae Young in check for Atlanta.

The loss of Caruso is massive, but the team has other wings that could give Tyler Herro trouble in this one. Herro can fill it up, but he struggled with his efficiency as the No. 1 option on Wednesday with Butler limited. 

I think the time to jump on Chicago is now, as even if Butler does try to tough it out, he’s going to be at much less than 100 percent. 

Pick: Bulls moneyline (+106)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.