The Scalpel - NBA Eastern Conference Finals
bettingexpert blog editor. Always taking the alternative route to finding the value.
At the peak of their powers in the 1990's, the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls on more than one occasion, tormented the good sporting faithful of the city of Cleveland. If we were to have a Who Wears The Deepest Scar contest for sports cities the world over, Cleveland's sporting public might not only win for the ugly depth of their wounds but possibly also for the sheer number of cuts, bruises and broken hearts fans of the Cavs, Browns and Indians have collectively suffered over the years.
And it's sad situation for a city that has such a history of passionate and determined support for their professional sporting clubs, that they might once again, have to choose which team to support in a given matchup of foes, by which has tormented them least. But it is just the situation that confronts the city of Cleveland as the Bulls and the Miami Heat prepare for this seasons Eastern Conference finals. The wounds inflicted by the Windy City assassins of Jordan, Pippen and Co. versus the wounds inflicted by one of their own: Lebron James.
No doubt it will not only be the basketball fans of Cleveland that will be cheering on the Derrick Rose led Bulls as they come up against what many consider to be the new ambassadors for all things corruptible in the ever more corruptible soul of the world sport. But as much as we might scorn Lebron James for the way he left a city that worshipped him, and in doing so inflict yet another wound on a town whose painful sporting history he seemed equally naive as indifferent to, there is nothing to dislike about what is presented to us in this years Eastern decider. As sports purists, this is what we live for. And hopefully we get all 7 games worth of it.
And as fans looking to place some many down, we're all wondering where the value might. So lets start breaking it down.
The clubs last met back in early March of this year, with the Bulls holding on to win by a single point in Miami. Chicago will have home court advantage in this series and have won 4 of the last 6 meetings between the clubs in Chicago dating back to February of 2009. Meanwhile the Heat have won 3 of the last 4 meetings between the teams played in Miami dating back to March of '09.
AGAINST THE LINE
The Bulls have gone 56-37 against the line this season, and are coming off a series with Atlanta in which the covered in 4 of 6 games. Meanwhile the Heat have shown form against the line away from home where they are 27-18 for the season, while going 20-27 against the line in home games.
While boasting a strong overall record against the line this season, the Bulls have excelled especially against teams with a win/loss record above 50%, where they are 13-4 against the line at home as well as 13-6 on the road. They are also 10-2 in games where they were underdogs between 1 and 6 points.
Both clubs have performed well against the line following a win, with the Heat going 38-27 for the season and the Bulls 39-30. Both clubs however stumble after wins of at least 10 points with the Heat going 20-17 following double digit victories and the Bulls going 16-19.
It's after losses where they differ, with the Bulls remaining strong going 18-6 following a loss while the Heat dip to a 9-18 record against the line following a defeat. Further, after losses of less than 10 points, Chicago are 15-2 against the line while Miami are 5-15.
The Bulls are likewise very strong when playing against an opponent this is coming off a win, going an impressive 37-15 against the line in that situation throughout the season.
Chicago have also responded well defensively following games in which they have given up at least 100 points, holding a 14-5 record against the line as well as going 39-21 against the line following games in which they scored less than 100 points.
Both clubs have performed well following a day of rest, with the Heat boasting a 30-19 record against the line and the Bulls 29-14. Following 2 days of rest however, Miami's record falls to 4-11.
Further, Miami are 9-21 against the line in their last 30 games following a break of at least 3 days.
OVERS AND UNDERS
Chicago are Under 53-40 for the season, and have been especially defensive while at home this season, going Under 28-19. Further, the Bulls have stepped up defensively when playing against opponents with a win/loss record over 50% where they are Under 25-13.
Miami however have are Over 14-5 in their last 19 away games against teams with a home win/loss record above 60%.
Chicago bring the defense when underdogs between 1 and 6 points, where their record is Under 11-3. On the other hand Miami have gone Under 14-9 when favourites between 1 and 6 points.
Following a win, the Bulls have gone Under 40-29 while Miami have gone Over 17-10 following a loss. Further, Miami are Over 27-17 for the season when playing against teams that are coming off a victory.
Lastly, in the last 13 meetings between the clubs, the teams have gone Under 10-3 and have gone Under 6-1 in the last 7 meetings in Chicago.
The value situations are with the Bulls in this matchup, especially in Miami where the Heat have been less than average against the line this season. While both teams have been strong coming off wins of less than 10 points, Miami have been poor coming off losses of the same margin. That suggests some value with the Bulls coming off similar victories in this series. Further than that, the Bulls have been solid coming off losses and against teams coming off victories especially following poor defensive efforts.
With regards to Overs and Unders, avoid making any selections in games played in Chicago despite 6 of the last 7 meetings in the Windy City going Under. But when Miami are hosts, look to take the Under as it favours situations where the Bulls are underdogs and the Heat are favourites.
Situations to look for:
- Bulls against the line coming off wins of less than 10 points playing in Miami.
- Bulls against the line coming off losses of less than 10 points where they scored less than 100 points and gave up at least 100 points.
- Under in games played in Miami
Best Value Result: The Bulls to win the series at 2.62. And despite hoping the series extends to 7 games, I find the value with the Bulls winning in 6 games paying 10.90.
Coming up tomorrow - The Scalpel's Western Conference Finals analysis.
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