2023 Chicago Bulls Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert NBA Picks
The Chicago Bulls are heading into the 2023-34 season in search of their first playoff series victory since 2015. They’ve been dwelling among the Eastern Conference bottom feeders much of that time. However, a healthy lineup featuring DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine, and Alex Caruso is more than capable of making waves in the East.
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The Bulls held firm with their lineup, opting to once again run it back with the core members of their squad. After signing LaVine to a 5-year deal last offseason, they opened up the checkbook once again to secure Vucevic to a 3-year, $60 million dollar deal. Injuries have prevented the ‘Big 3’ in Chicago from ever really getting going. So, while initially head scratching, it makes sense why the Bulls’ upper management is electing to run it back.
One addition to the squad is Jevon Carter. Carter may not have had a leading role on the Bucks, but he did start a career high 39 games in a very competitive Bucks lineup. The playoff experience he will bring into the lineup will certainly help the Bulls through the cold months of the season, and he won’t take away from the superstars. Carter averages just 5.4 PPG throughout his career, despite getting 16+ minutes of action. His defensive abilities keep him in the lineup, and he simply makes everyone around him look better. For a team full of egos, Carter is a great addition to the Bulls squad.
The Bulls are expected to make the playoffs, but anything past that is a tall mountain to climb. They’ve finished with more wins than losses just once in the last 7 seasons, so expecting a deep playoff run may be unrealistic. They certainly have the pieces, but they lack the bonafide superstar needed to compete with the league’s top dogs, as LaVine (24.8 PPG) and DeRozan (24.5 PPG) are forced to split the shooting load. DeRozan has been competing among the best for over a decade, and the 34-year-old is likely to see a reduction in his efficiency on the court. He saw his PPG, 3 PT percentage, and rebounds all decrease last season, and the 36 minute per game workload he is used to will be soon to follow. LaVine is just 28 years old and is clearly the shooting partner the Bulls want with Vucevic long term.
I expect this to be a do or die year for the Bulls. Their lineup is the 10th oldest in the league, but the Dallas Mavericks were the only other team in the top 10 to miss the playoffs last year. They are firm on their non-rebuilding status. However, unless the team starts putting wins on the board, they may be forced to blow up the team next offseason.
The Bulls have a rather kind schedule. Ten of their first 15 games are at home, which may allow them to get off to a hot start, which this team desperately needs. They also are afforded the luxury of being home with their families over the holiday period, as they have no road games between December 18 and January 2. An aging core featuring several fathers will be grateful to have that time in Chicago, and they will be refreshed to compete through the long winter months in the Windy City.
Chicago Bulls Odds
The Bulls have a reasonable chance to make the playoffs, as they are +150 to get the job done, and have a regular season total of 37.5 wins. Considering they put 40 wins on the board with virtually the same lineup as last season, this total makes sense. A slight regression due to the aging nature of the squad is understandable. However, the Bulls know they have something to prove this year.
Their +12500 title odds are quite daunting. However, if any of the bottom feeders can take the step, it will be the Bulls. They have proven talent on their roster. And if they can finally start clicking with a few extra pieces, they will stand a chance. However, a mid-season blow up of the lineup is well within the realm of possibilities for this team, as they may find themselves shipping off their veteran talent in exchange for future prospects.
In the play-in tournament, the Bulls have a favorable group with the Celtics, Raptors, Nets, and Magic. I wouldn’t be opposed to getting behind their +1100 odds to top the group, as they may enter the final game against Boston with a 3-0 record and present an excellent hedging opportunity.
2023-24 Season Predictions
I expect this team to blow it up at the deadline. After starting the year with a record in the range of 21-31, the buyers for a proven talent like DeRozan will come knocking. The Bulls won’t be able to say no to a generous offer for their 34-year-old and will raise the white flag on any progress this year. When betting their regular season win total, this must be kept in mind. I’m expecting them to fall Under the line of 37.5 wins, with a final record of 33-49. We have seen this story play out before. And insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. The Bulls have tried this lineup configuration, and it simply doesn’t work. With no significant changes in the offseason, the Bulls will once again fall short of expectations.
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