Chicago Bulls 2021 NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Bet the Over With Billy Donovan at the Helm
Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Billy Donovan and Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.
Chicago Bulls Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
I loved this over last year. LOVED it. And the Bulls were just terrible on offense, despite having more offensive talent than defensive talent. Jim Boylen was great at getting that team to defend … at the cost of any offensive cohesion whatsoever.
The Bulls hated playing for Boylen, that’s pretty clear. New coach Billy Donovan has mixed reviews around the league, but he treats his players as men and as professionals.
The Bulls enter the season healthy aside from Thaddeus Young (leg) and Garrett Temple (COVID-19), which is an improvement over previous seasons.
The Bulls won 34% of their games last season. Their Pythagorean mark was 40%. That was the fourth-biggest differential.
They could have replaced Boylen with a ham sandwich and I would be taking the over.
New head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is shrewd. He’ll make tough decisions and be aggressive in improving the team.
There’s talent all over this roster. Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen (due for a bounce-back season), Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White, rookie Patrick Williams, Tomas Satoransky and Temple (once he returns).
I think this is a .500 team.
The Case for the Under
The only thing the Bulls were good at last season was defense. When LaVine, starting shooting guard and fringe All-Star, was on the floor, their defensive rating was 111. LaVine led the team in minutes.
When he was on the bench, that meant more Kris Dunn minutes. Dunn is awesome defensively. When LaVine was on the bench, the defensive rating was 101. That’s a wild differential.
Dunn and Shaq Harrison are both gone.
If Chicago falls back defensively at all, which seems likely, is its offense going to improve enough from 29th in the league to get them over a 40% win percentage?
Markkanen fell off the last two seasons. Carter doesn’t have much of an offensive bag. White constantly pushes, but doesn’t have anything he’s good at yet.
This was a bad team that I talked myself into last season and that was a mistake. What if it wasn’t Boylen’s fault?
Chicago Bulls Win Total Bet
I’m doubling down here.
Donovan is a good coach. The nitpicking about him fails to acknowledge how good his teams have consistently been on both ends of the court, even with bad offensive rosters.
I think there’s some upside with in-season moves, too. Young was on the trade block in the offseason and if the season goes sideways, they may move LaVine and I trust the front office to come up with a 40% win percentage with this roster.
Back in on the Bulls!