The NBA is in its slowest news period, proving that even behemoths need to sleep, sometimes. After the whirlwind at the beginning of the summer, it is nice to take a step back and reflect on what our favorite league has become, before the season starts in earnest on October 22nd. Per tradition, this dead zone is filled with speculation, and nothing stirs up more talk than Vegas over/under odds.
While O/U’s aren’t a tell-all, and Vegas can’t see the future, looking at these odds are useful. It gives an idea of where the big betting sites think the NBA is going, and how they think each team is going to perform. For example, Westgate thinks that a good line, that makes bettors think about whether or not to take the over or under on the Milwaukee Bucks is 58.5, which is the highest in the league.
What about the Bulls, though? Where do the smartest guys in betting think the Bulls are going to end up? I’ve found 4 different lines set (credit to Action Network for making a handy table) that are all grouped pretty close together: Per Westgate, 33; PointsBet, 32.5; FanDuel, 31.5; DraftKings, 30.5. Just to jog your memory, the Bulls won 22 games last year. Earlier in the summer, PointsBet opened the line for the Bulls at 27.5, so there’s already an upward trajectory.
An 8-11 game increase is not anything to scoff at. Vegas thinks that the additions of Tomas Satoransky, Luke Kornet, and Thaddeus Young; the drafting of Coby White and Daniel Gafford mixed with in-house improvement is enough to add around 10 wins to the season. That’s not bad at all, but it doesn’t exactly mesh with what many Bulls’ fan’s expectations are.
Be honest: is 32 wins enough to call this team successful? Yes, that’s a 10 win increase from last year. But wasn’t last year an underperformance? Didn’t we all blame injuries and coaching decisions, and we all echoed “once they’re all healthy…”. It never came, though. There was February, where Lauri Markkanen went super saiyan and filled our collective basketball life with purpose. Otto Porter Jr. was brought in, and Chicago looked like a real basketball team for a while. Yet, they still won 22 games. This year, people are expecting 38-42 wins, and maybe the 8th seed in a weaker Eastern Conference. Are expectations set too high?
I think a good win total to shoot for is 35 wins. That’s a 13 game improvement, based on new additions, and Otto Porter getting a chance to be with the team for a full season. If everything goes extremely well, there’s a chance this team makes the playoffs. As far as the O/U, you can bet I’m taking the over on any of those lines. Call me hopeful, but I think it will happen.
Ethan is on Twitter as @mcdougiee1