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NBA Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls

January 27, 2007

NBA Basketball - Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls (-6, 192) 8:30 PM EST

Ben GordonComing off an impressive upset win over the NBA's best team, the Bulls will look to avoid a letdown when they take on the defending champion Miami Heat from Chicago on Saturday night.

The defeat of Dallas Thursday night completed one-half of the back-to-back home games against last year's NBA finalists. However, in tonight's game, Chicago will be expected to win, playing as a home favorite despite the recent return of Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami lineup.

Chicago has played its best at home this year, so Thursday's win wasn't surprising to NBA experts. In fact, playing to a home-loaded schedule so far this season, the Bulls are 19-6 SU & 16-9 ATS at the United Center. They have been inconsistent though in January with just a 6-7 SU & ATS record since the New Year. In their defense, the schedule has been loaded with many of the league's best teams. Here Chicago will start a stretch of four straight games against sub-.500 teams.

Miami currently finds itself on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. However, with a healthy O'Neal back in the mix alongside G Dwyane Wade, the prospects for a second half surge by the champs look promising. Unfortunately, the "new beginning" got off to a slow start, as did their current three-game road trip, when they lost at Indiana Wednesday night, 96-94. The Heat did cover that spread however, and as such, went in to last night's game vs. New York at MSG on a 5-2-1 ATS run.

Overall on the road, Miami is 9-13 SU & 12-9-1 ATS discounting Friday's result. One potential stat differential to keep an eye on though is that Miami allows over 103 PPG on the road, while Chicago yields less than 89 PPG at home.

The last time these clubs hooked up was just after Christmas, again in the Windy City. The Bulls won that night 109-103, barely covering a 5-1/2 point spread.

The betting action on this attractive NBA contest figures to be brisk, aided by the return of O'Neal. Get a feel for which way your betting brotherhood is leaning by visiting the Betting Trends page anytime before the 8:35 PM ET tipoff.

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