NBA Odds: Bettors starting to like the Bulls
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 4/1/2011
In an NBA season that seems to have revolved around the Miami Heat, you could almost say that the Chicago Bulls have flown under the radar in the Eastern Conference. Yet there they are heading into Friday’s game in Detroit, with a record of 54-20. Better than Miami. Better than Boston. Better than Orlando. Better than every team in the NBA except San Antonio.
The Bulls have been huge money-makers for their backers who have been betting on them against the spread at Bodog all season long. And now we’re seeing more and more players betting on Chicago to win it all.
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We’re currently giving the Bulls 17/4 odds to win the 2011 NBA Championship. Only the Lakers (5/2) and Heat (7/2) are getting lower futures odds than that.
It’s interesting to look back at how the Bulls were perceived at the beginning of the season. In ESPN’s preseason power rankings, Chicago was ninth. A couple of weeks into the schedule, the Bulls had fallen to No. 16 after a slow start. However, for the past four weeks they’ve been at No. 2.
Of course, the big concern about the Bulls is their lack of playoff experience. Remember, Chicago has only been to the second round once (2007) since winning the 1998 NBA Finals with Michael Jordan leading the charge. Last year, the Bulls fell in five games to Cleveland in the first round.
But none of that bothers Chicago’s young star, Derrick Rose.
"I've been handling that throughout my whole life," Rose told ESPN this week. "Where high school [people were] saying we were too young to go this far. College, we made it to the championship, of course [we] didn't win. Then last year, [people] thinking we weren't going to make the playoffs. My rookie year [people] saying we weren't going to make it. I know I've been hearing it my whole life, so [skeptics] probably said the same thing to the Boston team that won [in 2008]. But they came together at the right time and they made a great win."
In a recent game against the Timberwolves, Minnesota’s Kevin Love had nothing but good things to say about the Bulls.
"They're all on the same page, everybody," Love said. "When they break from the huddle, everybody's in. You can tell everybody has the utmost respect for each other and they're all in it to win it. In that regard, I envy that. I salivate for that. I like that a lot."
Chicago has a great chance to finish as the top seed in the East. Its schedule down the stretch is hardly daunting with six of its last eight games against teams with losing records.
From a book-making perspective it will be interesting to see how our players bet the Bulls once the postseason starts.
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