When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
The NBA play-in tournament has reached its final stage as the Miami Heat take on the Chicago Bulls Friday night for the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference and the right to advance to the playoff bracket.
FanDuel sportsbook is offering a sign-up bonus for all new bettors that want to get in on the NBA playoffs action. All that is required is the creation of an account, a $10 deposit, and a $5 first bet, and users will receive $150 in bonus bets no matter the outcome of the $5 wager.
Bonus bets are not the same as cash but can be used as a stake for bets and will win cash prizes with winning wagers. Full terms and conditions can be found on the FanDuel sportsbook.
The Bulls took a step back from their sixth-place finish in the East last season but still managed to qualify for the play-in with a 40-42 record that was tenth-best in the conference. They have a nice spread of ability, but that is not what makes them unique—their ability to knock down mid-range shots and methodical style of play on offense are responsible for that.
Starting guard Lonzo Ball has not played all season because of a serious knee problem that has put his career in jeopardy. That has heaped even more pressure onto Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, the team’s two stars that handle a majority of the scoring responsibilities.
Chicago cannot be discounted as a traditional sub-.500 team, no matter what its record says. It is 15-9 since the All-Star break and just rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit on the road on Wednesday, proving that it can handle adversity that comes in nearly every playoff matchup.
LaVine and DeRozan put up a combined 29.3 points per game between them, and both shoot close to or above 50% from the field. LaVine in particular was at his best against the Toronto Raptors in his first play-in game, going for 39 points and single-handedly dragging his team back from the massive deficit in the third and fourth quarters.
The Bulls’ late-season turnaround led them to finish first in defensive rating and third in net rating since the All-Star break. Part of that can be attributed to the defense pressure they apply on the perimeter with the guard tandem of Patrick Beverley and Alex Caruso.
The Bulls won the 9/10 matchup against the Raptors 109-105 north of the border. They won the fourth quarter 37-24 to cement the victory and keep their season alive for at least another game.
The Heat won the Eastern Conference regular-season title last season but only managed a seventh-place finish this time around. A major part of that was because of their truffles from three-point land which, although they got slightly better in the latter half of the season, are still lingering.
Miami has a player in Jimmy Butler that elevates himself higher than arguably any other player in the league in the postseason compared to his usual play in the regular campaign. But despite guaranteeing a win over the Atlanta Hawks in the 7/8 matchup, Butler was terrible, and the Heat fell to a team they eliminated in the first round of the 2022 playoffs in five games.
The Heat’s defense this year is nowhere near the level it has been in the past and has escaped criticism because of the branding of “Heat culture” but is still capable of turning it on every once in a while. The team’s more obvious problem is its inconsistency in scoring the basketball, which will need to dissipate in a matchup against a Bulls team that has two relentless scorers.
Butler averaged 2.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game this season. Bam Adebayo, one of the league’s most versatile defenders, put up 20.4 points and 9.2 rebounds but had a very poor showing against the Hawks. Kyle Lowry fell out of the starting lineup in the regular season but had 33 points off the bench against Atlanta
Miami, the fourth-worst three-point shooting team in the league, made only 32.4% of its triples against the Hawks. That will be the key situation to monitor as it prepares for the ultimate do-or-die game Friday.
The Heat lost 116-105 at home to the Hawks Tuesday. They were outrebounded 63-39 and got themselves into a large hole early on that they could never escape from.
The Heat had the better record and should be better in the postseason, but they have not done enough to garner that faith.
There was a narrative that the Heat were resounding into shape after the All-Star break and were ready to potentially even upset their first-round opponent; however, the offensive and defensive ratings would disagree with that assessment, and their players have not been performing at an elite level as individuals.
With all of that in mind, plus the Bulls’ recent excellence as a team and momentous win against the Raptors, the best pick here is for Chicago to mark its second-straight upset win on the road.
Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook
Free play options
Special contests for newbies
Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets
21+ | Terms and conditions apply
Wide range of betting options
Top notch customer service
Promo Code 'SPORTS'
$500 Bonus Bet
21+ | VA only | Gambling problem? Call 1-800-532-3500
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.