Are You Betting Heat vs. Bulls Game 1?

I am not. While the Heat seem to be living up to the hype. I am not convinced yet. The Heat have relied on their big 3 (Wade, James, and Bosh) all season. That reliance has increased in the playoffs. In the regular season, the big 3 accounted for 69.4% of the Heat points shooting 50.3%. In the playoffs, they account for 73.6% of the Heat points, shooting 47.0%. Please note, defense is better in the playoffs and that may account for the shooting % difference. The bigger concern might be the rest of the team. The rest of the Heat team shot 44.1% in the regular season but have only shot 37.0% in the playoffs. [Note: The Bulls top 3 scorers average 60.8% of the teams regular season points and shot 47.0%. In the playoffs they average 60.4% of team points and shoot 42.6%. In the playoffs, the Bulls remaining players are shooting within 0.2% of their regular season average].

Related to the Heat reliance on the big 3, their assist ratio is even (assist ratio is offensive assist/defensive assist allowed), while the Bulls have a 1.21 assist ratio. This ratio difference accounts for 1.5 points per game in my simulations. [Another note: using the assist ratio in my model increases accuracy by 2%]. The Heat have played a mediocre Sixers team and a broken down Celtics team. They now face a young, athletic team that can play defense (they allow 42.1% shooting at home and out rebound teams 53 to 47).

As you can see in today’s simulations, my model favors the Bulls in game 1. There are no angles that make this a momentum or starred play (my model is 3.0% more accurate for momentum plays and 7.5% to 11.5% for starred plays depending if the adj sim or sim covers the point spread). Generally, I only play momentum and starred plays unless I can eliminate some specific uncertainty in the game. In this game, I am uncertain about the Bulls playoff experience and the step up in class (the Heat). The Bulls haven’t played great teams in the playoffs this year and have relied on huge games from Derrick Rose.

In summary, the concern about the Heat backup players and the Bulls playoff experience and step up in class leave me watching today’s game. I am also just watching the early game (Grizzlies at Thunder) as I have no momentum or angles to support a position and anything can happen in game 7. Sorry, I am not taking a position on a team, but they play the national anthem every day and there are always opportunities to find a good bet (I did like the Heat/Bulls Under before the line dropped from 182.5 to 180). If you are betting either game, good luck on whatever side you are on. I will post full NBA season model results once the season is complete.

Good Luck! Follow me on Twitter for all my model results and picks.

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