The Chicago Bulls kick off their 2022-23 NBA season on Wednesday night on the road against Eastern Conference rival the Miami Heat. The Heat have dominated the Bulls in the 20+ years since Michael Jordan donned the red and black. Miami went 4-0 against Chicago last season and is 13-3 in their previous 16 meetings dating back to 2017. But Chicago made some moves this offseason that could shift the tides of this rivalry. Notable additions include C Andre Drummond, G Goran Dragic and G Dalen Terry. Chicago also re-signed Zach LaVine, but he, along with PG Lonzo Ball, will sit out of the season opener.
While the Bulls are hoping to make the playoffs, the Heat have their sights set on an NBA title and are a better team all-around. If the Chicago Bulls started the season with Ball and LaVine healthy, this game would end up being wildly different. But Chicago has to live with the harsh truth of starting the year without two of their best players on the court against a bitter conference rival. The Bulls, as it stands, are lacking defense in the starting lineup with Ball on the shelf. Their defense, it should be noted, is expected to be worse this season when at full strength. So, this depleted roster could get smoked by a talented Heat offense.
The second leg of our NBA same-game parlay features Nikola Vucevic getting double-digit rebounds in his first game. Chicago’s big man is a rebounding specialist and finished the season tied for 8th in 2021 with an average of 11 boards per game. In four games against the Heat last year, Vucevic went over this total twice and averaged 9.5 rebounds. Finally, DeMar DeRozan is our anchor leg on Wednesday night. He is a sure bet to earn four or more dimes thanks to the absences of Ball and LaVine. The former led the Bulls last season with 5.1 assists per game, while LaVine ranked third behind DeRozan with 4.5. DeMar will need to pick up the slack with his teammates out with injuries.