Hawks vs. Bulls NBA Betting Odds & Pick: Bet Chicago Against Revamped Atlanta on Wednesday (Dec. 23)
Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Billy Donovan.
- The Chicago Bulls are slight favorites in Wednesday's opener against the Atlanta Hawks.
- Both franchises underwent significant roster changes in the offseason, making this an intriguing contest.
- Phillip Kall delivers his in-depth analysis and tells us why he likes the host in this spot below.
Hawks vs. Bulls Odds
|Hawks Odds||-2 [BET NOW]|
|Bulls Odds||+2 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-136 / +115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||231.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Hawks and Bulls both enter the season with hopes of ending three-year playoff droughts. While both teams have experienced similar struggles, their approach to solving the problem greatly differed this offseason.
The Hawks used roster moves as the solution to get back on track. They allowed many of their key rotation players to walk and replaced them with an assortment of veterans.
The Bulls stuck with their young core of players as few additions and departures took place. What they did change, though, was the man in charge, as head coach Jim Boylen was replaced by Billy Donovan.
An exciting game should be ahead of us as two young teams battle to start strong. Let’s see if we can find an edge on either side.
Finding a star to build around is always the hardest struggle for teams looking to break out of the lottery and into the playoffs. Luckily for the Hawks, Trae Young showed he could be the team’s star, jumping from good to great last season while averaging 29.6 points and 9.3 assists.
With Young in place to lead, the Hawks’ offseason focused on building the right group of role players around him. The first group of additions was full of shooters to help improve their league-worst 33% 3-point percentage. This meant bringing in Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Tony Snell, all of who shot 37% or better from beyond the arc last season.
The second group of additions was guards to complement Young. Rajon Rondo was brought in to allow Young to play more freely off the ball, while Kris Dunn was added to compensate for Young’s lack of defense.
While these offseason additions helped create a balanced team, the most important acquisition for this year came last year during the season. Center Clint Capela will bring support not only to the Hawks’ 22nd-ranked 43.3 rebounds per game, but also their 27th-ranked 114.8 defensive rating.
Because of the flurry of moves, DraftKings actually has the Hawks at -134 to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. However, after a short offseason and preseason during which several players were held out regularly, the Hawks may need time to figure out what works best for them.
The Bulls have struggled to get much of anything going in recent years, notching a 34% winning percentage since trading Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in 2017.
To break the losing trend, the Bulls hired Donovan, whose Thunder teams have been competitive in recent years. He should have the ability to take this team to the next level using the skills that got him to the NBA from Florida.
Increasing Chicago’s offensive production will be Donovan’s main focus as the Bulls ranked 27th in offensive rating last season. That’s a far cry from their No. 12 ranking in defensive rating per Basketball-Reference.
Donovan has already made moves to address the offensive struggles, promoting No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams to the starting lineup over Otto Porter Jr. The move came after Williams impressed with his 11 points per game and 49% shooting in the preseason.
The other preseason standout for the Bulls was sophomore point guard Coby White, who showed drastic improvements in field goal and 3-point percentages during the preseason. White went from 39.4% inside the arc and 35.4% beyond it last season to 45.3% and 48%. White maintaining that production would go a long way in the Bulls’ offense taking a step forward.
Atlanta’s strategy to rebuild has focused on bringing in veterans to round out its bench rotation. This will likely pay off over the long haul of an NBA season and guide the Hawks to a playoff berth. However, due to a short offseason, the chemistry will likely be lacking from the start of the season, and finding the correct rotation could take some time.
In Chicago, while Donovan will need time to find what works best for his new team, he has already showed an ability to adjust and improve, with the Bulls allowing 125 points in their first preseason game compared to an average of 99 in their last three.
History will also be on the Bulls’ side as last year they were 3-0 against the Hawks, winning all three games by 20 or more points.
For the first game of the season, I am trusting the Bulls to continue their winning streak against the brand-new Hawks.
Pick: Bulls +2 (Moneyline if you are more of a risk-taker)