Jimmy Butler is not walking through that door, or that tunnel, or anywhere else that leads to the playing floor in Miami.

The Heat are going to have to try to get into the NBA Playoffs on Friday night without their best player, which is not where Miami wanted to be as it attempts to replicate that unlikely feat of a year ago when the Heat went from the second play-in game all the way to the NBA Finals -- knocking off the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics along the way.

Bulls vs Heat Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - NBA Play-In Tournament Betting Lines 4/19/24

Moneyline: Bulls (+105), Heat (-125)
Spread: Bulls +1.5 (-110), Heat -1.5 (-110)
Total: Over/Under 206.5 points

Bulls vs Heat Prediction and Pick

Butler suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee during Wednesday night’s play-in loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, and he will be out for a couple of weeks – meaning the Heat will not have him at the beginning of their first-round series against Boston if they make it that far by winning on Friday night.

Butler’s injury, along with the absence of Terry Rozier, who is out with a neck injury, has left us with a line of Miami -2½ for Friday’s Eastern Conference showdown at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

If that does not tell you how low the oddsmakers regard the Chicago Bulls, nothing will.

“Heat Culture” calls for a next-man-up strategy, but replacing the No. 1 overall player and No. 2 offensive player (Rozier) on any team is no easy task. We expect rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. to move into the Heat’s starting lineup, and we will learn whether coach Eric Spoelstra was justified in being so ecstatic over the Heat’s first-round pick last June when they drafted the 23-year-old from UCLA with the 18th overall pick.

The Bulls have an injury concern of their own with Alex Caruso listed as questionable. He is dealing with an ankle injury suffered when teammate Andre Drummond landed on his foot. Caruso’s potential absence would rob Chicago of a First Team All-Defensive player.

So, there are quite a few subplots as we look ahead to Friday night’s elimination match and try to put together a same-game parlay that not only makes sense, but that we sincerely believe will hit. So let’s have at it …

Best Same-Game Parlay Picks for Bulls vs. Heat: 4-Leg SGP Pick (+8000)

Caleb Martin, 18+ points (+525)

Jimmy Butler took 27 shots against the 76ers during Miami’s play-in loss two nights ago, and those shots now must be redistributed. The Bulls are going to expect that Tyler Herro and Jaime Jaquez will get the bulk of them, which means if Miami is going to have a surprise scorer, it’ll be somebody else. It is therefore a good time to remind everyone that Caleb Martin averaged more than 20 points against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, so we already know that he is capable of rising to the occasion. When picking a same-game parlay, bettors need to identify one overperformer. This is that pick.

SGP-Leg 1: Caleb Martin to score at least 18 points (+525)
DeMar DeRozan, 2+ 3-pointers (+215)

Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan is “Mr. Midrange,” but he hit four 3-pointers in the next-to-last game of the regular season against Detroit before hitting two against the New York Knicks. He was only 1-for-2 against Atlanta on Wednesday when the Bulls won at home to qualify for this game, but we know he will likely have at least two attempts, and he will probably have more if the Heat sag off him and dare him to beat them from the arc. DeRozan was 4-for-13 from distance in four games against the Heat in the regular season, making two 3-pointers in each of the first two meetings.

SGP Leg-2: DeMar DeRozan to make at least two 3-pointers (+215).

Chicago +1 ½ points

In the Betway same-game-parlay tab, the line for this game is 1½, which is the book’s way of making it a little more difficult for you. But the thinking here is that Chicago is going to take this one all the way down to the wire, and the Bulls should probably be favored because they are going against a Miami team that will be missing its two best offensive players. Chicago is a lot more talented than the results have shown over the past couple of seasons, and the Bulls are overdue for a breakthrough. We believe they will win, and this provides some wiggle room if they lose by one point.

SGP Leg-3: Chicago +1½ points

Bam Adebayo, 2+ steals (+150)

Miami’s Bam Adebayo is a terrific defensive center who produces more steals than blocks -- something no other center does. He had at least two steals in 24 regular-season games, which is just under one-third of the time. He is matched up on Friday against Chicago’s Nikola Vucevic, whose biography is filled with chapter and verse about coming up short in the postseason (which is why the Orlando Magic got rid of him). Nice kid, but he falters when something is on the line. Adebayo knows that, and Adebayo has quick hands.

SGP Leg-4: Bam Adebayo to have at least two steals (+150)

Putting those four picks together produces a same-game parlay line of +8000, meaning a $10 wager would bring a return of $810 and set you off on your weekend festivities with a little extra beer money in your wallet. And if you lose, you are only out 10 bucks. So go live a little, y’all. Good luck!

Odds are subject to change*

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