Chicago Bulls: Oddsmakers are not optimistic about this season

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls made a number of moves this offseason, but oddsmakers are not impressed.

Heading into last season, the Chicago Bulls had very low expectations. Before the first game tipped-off, fans and pundits were already talking about the possibility of getting a top-three, if not the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

There were a number of very good reasons for those expectations. For starters, no one knew just how good Lauri Markkanen was going to be in his first year in the league. There were also questions surrounding what, if anything, the team would get out of Zach LaVine who was coming off a significant knee injury. Finally, Kris Dunn was a bit of an unknown coming over from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

As you might expect, the team went through a lot of growing pains, compounded by LaVine’s late return and Dunn missing time due to two separate injuries.  As a result, they finished the year with 27 wins and the No. 7 overall pick in the Draft.

However, this offseason, the organization made some significant moves.  They drafted Wendell Carter, Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, both of whom had very good Summer League performances. They also signed restricted free agent and Chicago native, Jabari Parker. That is a significant upgrade in talent to go along with retaining the services of their own restricted free agent, LaVine.

Consequently, one would expect to see a corresponding increase in expectations for this coming season. In fact, based on what the Bulls did this offseason, I would think most, if not all fans would be extremely disappointed if this team shows no improvement this year.

However, that’s precisely what oddsmakers in Las Vegas think will happen. Although it has not garnered a whole lot of discussion, back in the beginning of August, the over/under win totals for each NBA team was released. The Bulls over/under win total was set at 27.5, or only one-half game more than they won last season. For reference, their 2017 win total was set at 21.5.

Now I understand these numbers are set to entice action on both sides of the line. Essentially, oddsmakers want as close to “equal” action on both the over and under. Consequently, you would expect the number to be higher. That’s because you would expect the vast majority of gamblers to think the Bulls will surpass their win total from last year — especially in light of all their offseason moves.

But that does not appear to be the case. Rather, this number tells us there is close to an equal number of people on both sides of this line. To be honest, that’s fairly astonishing as far as I’m concerned. The fact that nearly half the betting public thinks the Bulls will essentially be worse than they were last season is very interesting.

Next. Bold predictions for Jabari Parker. dark

Maybe the number is indicative of Vegas’ skepticism that the Bulls’ gambles on Parker and LaVine will pay off. Maybe it’s just how things shook out after they crunched the numbers. But regardless of the reason, if Fred Hoiberg and the Bulls are on the wrong side of this wager, it may be time to reshuffle the deck.