The Golden State Warriors pushed their historic start to the NBA season to 19 straight wins after early MVP favorite Stephen Curry hit a step-back 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz. At this point, the Warriors just refuse to lose, which may have been the defining quality of those 72-10 Chicago Bulls. Both Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr have said on numerous occasions that there were five to 10 games during the season that Michael Jordan decided not to lose.
Curry may not be Jordan (but who is?), yet the young superstar has embodied that extreme competitive nature on a nightly basis. And while 19-0 is far too early to expect the Warriors to break Chicago's hallowed regular-season mark, we can start thinking about it because Curry and company have looked so unstoppable through the first fourth of the year. For comparison, let's take a closer look at the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, go over their ATS record, schedule and figure out ways to wager on Golden State throughout the season.
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1995-96 Chicago Bulls ATS Record
ATS record : 46-32-1 (approximately)
Chicago's ATS record is missing three games, according to the few sites with available information (most databases do not go back that far). But, for this article, the number we have is close enough. The Bulls ended up with the best ATS mark in the league and covered at a 56-percent rate over that season, which is a solid number but nothing to go crazy about. Last year Golden State covered at the same rate after producing 67 wins. This year, the Warriors are covering at a 68-percent rate, but that number will almost certainly come down as the season progresses.
Chicago also ended the 1995-96 campaign with the best offensive and defensive efficiently in the entire league, which is something Golden State could end up doing as well. The squad is ranked first in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency at the moment. We know Chicago destroyed the NBA during their 72-10 season, yet the biggest takeaway after looking at the ATS records is that the team only managed to cover 56 percent of the time.
What can we learn? : Golden State is killing the rest of the NBA at the moment. And even if the squad breaks Chicago's record, bettors should not get caught up in the media hype. The Warriors' ATS record will take a hit sometime soon because their lines will continue to be inflated every game that passes.
1995-96 Chicago Bulls Schedule
Golden State has seen an easier-than-normal schedule through the first 20 games. Once those road trips, back-to-backs and four-games-in-five-nights come around, the difficulty of actually beating Chicago's mark will set in. For a quick reference, let's take a look at Chicago's 10 losses from that season and see if there is anything we can learn.
Game 6 : at Orlando (eventual record: 60-22)
Game 12 : at Seattle (64-18)
Game 26 : at Indiana (52-30)
Game 45 : at Denver (35-47)
Game 46 : at Phoenix (41-41)
Game 54 : at Miami (42-40)
Game 61 : at New York (47-35)
Game 68 : at Toronto (21-61)
Game 75 : vs Charlotte (41-41)
Game 81 : vs Indiana (52-30)
The closer we look at Chicago's record, the more impressive and difficult it seems. The team only had one "bad" loss against the 21-61 Toronto Raptors and four other losses it could have won against a group of .500 squads. The Bulls also dropped five games against eventual 50-plus-win teams, which are games they should have lost anyway. The most impressive stats, however, are Chicago's 41-3 mark to start season and its two prolonged 13- and 18-game winning streaks over the course of the year.
What can we learn ?: one common train of thought has been that Warriors will lose a couple of games against bad teams because they are having an off night. If Chicago's season ends up being a blueprint for the Warriors, they only have one or two "bad" losses coming, so do not expect them to give away games to sub-.500 groups.
The biggest takeaway and landmark should be Chicago's 41-3 mark. Yes, Golden State started out hot with a 19-0 (can counting) record, but the team would still need to go 22-3 over the next 25 games to stay on Chicago's pace, which is an absurd number, if you think about it. Who really knows if Golden State will break the 72-10 record? What we do know is they still have a long way to go, so don't get caught up in the Warriors hype just yet.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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