The Chicago Bulls might not win the 2021 NBA title, but at the very least, they should be interesting.
The new VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas made a flurry of win-now moves in early August, acquiring Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan in sign-and-trades from the Pelicans and Spurs, respectively.
Karnisovas also signed defensive ace Alex Caruso to a four-year, $37 million deal from the Lakers. Combine these moves with the trade deadline acquisition of All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, and Chicago is built to win now.
That’s refreshing, as the Bulls haven’t done much winning lately. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2017, and even that season, they only finished .500.
On paper, Chicago appears to have a good enough roster to buck that trend. But what do the Chicago Bulls odds say?
Here’s where the sports betting markets lie on the Bulls in 2021-22.
Chicago Bulls 2021-22 odds at Illinois sportsbooks
At DraftKings Sportsbook in Illinois, the Bulls were +10,000 to win the championship going into free agency. Now, they are +7,000.
These are Chicago’s title odds at all six online sportsbooks in Illinois:
|Caesars By William Hill||+8,000|
While the Ball, DeRozan and Caruso moves improved the Bulls’ title odds, 70/1 (at best) is still quite a long shot.
A more realistic goal for Chicago is making the playoffs. PointsBet and BetRivers sportsbooks are offering markets on whether or not the Bulls will do so:
- PointsBet: Bulls make the playoffs (-140), miss the playoffs (+110)
- BetRivers: Bulls make the playoffs (-134), miss the playoffs (+105)
With Ball and DeRozan likely joining Vucevic, Patrick Williams and Zach LaVine in the starting lineup, the Bulls should have plenty of offensive firepower. They also have a quality coach in Billy Donovan.
Defense, on the other hand, could be a different story. LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic are all known as minus defenders, and the 20-year-old Williams will have to carry a heavy defensive burden.
With that said, Chicago finished 12th in defensive efficiency last season and 17th in offense. The Bulls may miss Thaddeus Young, but beyond him, it’s not as if a bunch of key defensive players departed.
In his last three seasons in Oklahoma City, Donovan’s defenses finished in the top 10 each year with fluid personnel. The Bulls are betting that Donovan can raise the floor on that end while the immense talent takes over on the offensive side. Chicago was also bad in close games last season, and their point differential suggests they should have been better than 31-41.
That all sounds great, but the Eastern Conference is looking stronger than it has in years. That’s a big reason why the Bulls aren’t overwhelming favorites to make the playoffs.
The Nets, Bucks, 76ers, Celtics, Hawks and Heat all appear to be playoff locks, and one could argue that the Knicks belong in that tier. That’s seven teams, and there are only so many spots available.
Can you bet on the NBA Summer League in Illinois?
Yes, you are able to bet on the NBA Summer League at online sportsbooks in Illinois.
Each sportsbook has lines up at the moment. The Bulls are currently 1-2, and their next game is on Sunday against the Grizzlies.
Chicago has some exciting players taking part in Summer League, too. Williams is in the fold, as is second-round pick Ayo Dosunmu, who was starring for the Illinois Fighting Illini last season.
Yes, Illinoisans can finally bet on Dosunmu after not being able to during the Illini’s magical season due to the state’s in-state collegiate betting laws.
The Summer League playoffs begin on Aug. 16. The Bulls won the Summer League championship five years ago behind some Denzel Valentine heroics.
Chicago fans, though, would much rather the team win 50 games in 2021-22. For the first time in years, there’s a real chance that happens.