It’s been more than a decade since the Chicago Bulls have made a serious playoff run, and if oddsmaker win totals remain an accurate predictor, this year won’t snap the string of mediocrity – or worse.
As the new NBA season nears and fans are finalizing their futures wagers on the Bulls Playoff Odds - we looked at the Bulls’ record since the 2010-11 season. Utilizing SportsOddsHistory.com, we measured how the result compared to the preseason win total set by the odds geniuses. Win totals were not included for the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.
How Bulls Finished Compared to Preseason Win Total
This analysis is not one you will find on the many fine Illinois sportsbooks.
Bulls Expected to Be Borderline Playoff Team
As you might expect, six years it went over and six years it went under.
The Bulls over-achieved during the first two seasons of our research: They crushed the 46.5 win total of 2010-11, going 62-20, and then won 50 the following year when bookmakers only upped their total to 47.5. Then for the next four years, bookmakers thought the Bulls were better than they turned out to be, setting win totals as high as 56.5, which were unattainable.
Generally, when the preseason win total gurus think the Bulls are going to be really good, they’re only good, and when they think they’re going to be really bad, they’re not quite that bad – 2018-19 being the exception. The last two years, with totals of 42.5 and 41.5, the prediction was that Chicago would be a .500 team and last year they were, finishing 40-42 (under). The year before they overachieved a bit, finishing 46-36 (over).
For the 2023-24 season, Billy Donovan’s group has a preseason win total of 37.5, their fourth worst total since 2010-11. The only close prediction during this time is the 39 wins predicted for 2016-17, a year the Bulls went 41-41. So where are the Bulls likely to finish this season? Well, BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois sees them fighting for the playoffs as they make them tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference at +6000 with the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors.
In terms of personnel, this year’s Bulls aren’t much different from last year’s Bulls squad that won 40 games. If Patrick Williams continues to develop and DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vukevic stay healthy, 38 or more wins (the over) is certainly realistic. Earlier, we look at how the NBA2K24 game rates the Bulls stars.
Mathematically speaking, the 12 years of predictions have been off by 4.5 losses, less than one game a season on average. This year that would mean the Bulls likely will win around 37 games and perhaps just miss the number. The flip side is that in the four seasons when the prognosticators picked the Bulls to finish below .500 (as they do this year), the Bulls have gone over the number three times (75%), albeit not over .500.
The question, therefore, is: Do you want to put your faith in the players or the nerds?