Sports betting:

Vegas Play of the Day: Trailblazers at Bulls

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Craig Mitchelldyer / AP

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, center, and center Mason Plumlee, right, react after Lillard made a 3-point basket over Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, left, during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Friday, April 29, 2016, in Portland, Ore.

Mon, Jan 1, 2018 (4:46 p.m.)

We’re entering the fourth season of the annual South Point-lined Play of the Day competition, effective July 1.

Starting bankrolls have reset to $10,000, with the maximum bet being to win $1,000 and the minimum wager $300. Ray Brewer won back-to-back titles in the 2015-2016 and 2016-17 seasons, after Taylor Bern prevailed in 2014-2015.

Chicago Bulls minus-3.5 vs. Portland Trailblazers, $550 to win $500:

The Bulls were limp and lifeless a month ago, with a clear path to the worst record in the NBA (and the lottery ping pong balls that come with it). But since forward Nikola Mirotic has returned from the facial injuries sustained in a preseason fight with teammate Bobby Portis, Chicago is 10-3 and one of the hottest teams in the league.

Mirotic has been effective (18.3 points per game, 47.0 percent from 3-point range), and he's made life easier for Chicago's stable of young players. Point guard Kris Dunn has been especially improved since Mirotic returned (15.3 points per game over the last 13 contests).

Portland has been surprisingly good on the road (10-7), but Chicago is tapping into something interesting. Ride this one out with the young Bulls.

Current Standings: (12-9, $12,819), Brewer (21-17, $10,970), Keefer (17-18-1, $9,361), Grimala (8-11, $7,215)

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