Is There Value On The Chicago Bulls NBA Championship Odds?

The Chicago Bulls are 2nd in the Eastern Conference at 19-9 and are 1.5 games back of the 1st place Nets. As of December 24th, the Bulls sit at +1,600 to win the Eastern Conference, which are the 5th best odds behind the Nets, Bucks, Heat, and 76ers. The Bulls are +3,000 currently to win the NBA finals, good for 10th best. Although the Bulls have their flaws, they are a team that realistically has a chance to run the table and beat the top contenders. Their huge offseason additions of DeRozan, Caruso, and Ball have energized the Bulls to play better than expected. So far, the Bulls look like a team that can have success in the playoffs due to their current roster strengths.

Chicago Bulls NBA Championship Odds


 

Chicago Bulls Offensive Breakdown

The offense is led by the dynamic scoring duo of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. DeRozan is 5th in the NBA at 26.8 PPG, while LaVine is 7th at 26.0 PPG. As a team, the Bulls are tied for the 5th best offensive rating (110.8). In today’s game, important factors for playoff success are shooting, isolation scoring, and perimeter defense. They are a superb overall shooting team that can be efficient from all sections of the court. The Bulls are 5th in FG%, 3rd in 3PT%, and 1st in FT%. Their team shooting split of 46.6 / 37.1 / 81.9 has allowed the Bulls to be ruthlessly efficient on offense. They have the second highest percentage of FGA that are 2-pointers, and the second highest percentage of points that are from mid range shots. While it may seem as though contenders would shy away from mid range shots, it is actually the opposite which is true.

The Nets are 1st in this category, and other teams in the top 10 include the Mavericks, 76ers, Raptors, Suns, Hawks, and Lakers. The only contenders in the bottom 10 of this statistic are the Jazz and Warriors. The rest are perennial bottom-feeders that throw up threes for the sole purpose of taking a ton of threes. The Bulls do not turn the ball over often and have an AST/TO ratio of 1.78, which is tied 8th best. They are a well-balanced team with 5 players averaging over 3 APG and 4 players averaging over 4 APG. 

Although DeRozan has not been a great 3PT shooter, he is still making 33.3% of his threes. That number is below league average, but it is high enough where opponents must respect and contest his shot. DeRozan has put pressure on the rim this season, which has led to 6.9 free throws made per game, the 3rd most in the NBA. When it comes to playoff offense, transition points are not as frequent as the regular season. Teams need players that can create their own offense, as well as playmakers that find the open shot. LaVine and DeRozan are two of the best isolation players in the NBA. Those two matchup with any other duo in the league in terms of isolation scoring.

Opponents will be forced to send help for portions of the game, leaving the Bulls shooters ready for catch and shoot threes. Lonzo Ball (41.9%), Zach LaVine (39.1%), Ayo Dosunmu (41.5%), Javonte Green (36.7%), and Alex Caruso (36.4%) have made teams pay from deep. The Bulls have had this success with Nikola Vucevic heavily struggling to start this year. He has a stat line of 15.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 3.5 APG on 40.9 / 34.3 / 63.9 shooting. He has been a force the last few years and will elevate the Bulls once he gets back on track.

In 26 games for the Bulls last year, Vucevic averaged 21.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 3.9 APG with a fantastic  47.1 / 38.8 / 87.0 shooting split. Even if Vucevic doesn’t return to these numbers, he is likely to improve from this mediocre start and give the Bulls another isolation and shooting threat. Overall, the Bulls are extremely dangerous and have the offense to go shot for shot with any team.

Chicago Bulls Defensive Breakdown

The Bulls are a better offensive than defensive team, but they are sturdy enough to win playoff games. They are currently tied for the 11th best Defensive Rating (107.5). Led by Alex Caruso (2.0 SPG) and Lonzo Ball (1.8 SPG), the perimeter defense is airtight. LaVine has been a mediocre defender in the past, but he looks locked in this year and ready to finally expend effort on that end. He does not have the best defensive instincts, yet his freakish athleticism allows him to recover quickly when beaten. LaVine and Jones Jr, both dunk contest winners, can use their extraordinary athleticism to slightly sag off of their man to protect the paint while still being able to recover and return to the perimeter.

If Patrick Williams returns in time for the playoffs, the Bulls will have a bigger wing that can defend both on the perimeter and interior. Williams is recovering from wrist surgery and is expected to be out until at least April 10th. The interior defense needs work, although Vucevic has been good at defending the pick and roll this year. 

Overall, the Bulls have the tools to keep the game close with their defense. They have the athletic tools to play above their perceived defensive potential. Caruso and Ball love the defensive challenge and relish the opportunity to mark the opponent’s best offensive player. Their attitude has been infectious this year and has caused the rest of the roster to be locked in. Caruso, in particular, has experience playing championship defense from his time with the Lakers. DeRozan and Vucevic both have playoff experience and can be the veterans the Bulls need to make a deep run.

Why There Is Value In Chicago Bulls Championship Odds

As of right now, the Bulls have the 9th easiest schedule remaining based on combined opponent records. The Cavaliers, Celtics, and 76ers have easier remaining schedules, while the Nets, Bucks, and Heat have harder ones. I like the Bulls to at least get home court in the first round, and they have a good chance to get home court in the second round as well. I would only rank the Nets and Bucks as better than the Bulls, so I believe there is value in taking these odds. The Nets have injury problems and the Bulls are 2-0 against them this year, although Kyrie did not play. In addition, there is a realistic chance the Bulls make a big move at the deadline.

Recently, the Bulls have not been afraid to shake up the roster and surrender assets. They have 1st round picks they can offer in conjunction with some young players. With Jerami Grant, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Christian Wood, Marvin Bagley, or Caris LeVert possibly on the trading block, the Bulls could look to go all in. They could entice teams with the potential of Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, or even Patrick Williams. I expect the Bulls to at least make one move at the deadline, which could drastically change the current odds.

I would lean towards betting on the +1,600 for them winning the Eastern Conference rather than the +3,000 because the Warriors and Suns are looking unstoppable. While the odds sit at their current state, betting on the Bulls being Eastern Conference champions may have exceptional value. 

* All stats from NBA.com 
* Stats from December 24

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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