Per BetMGM, the Bulls have -165 odds (62.3% implied probability) to make the playoffs. BetQL is giving them an 86.2% chance (-625 implied odds).
In case you missed it, Chicago now has one of the best starting lineups in the entire NBA, with newcomers DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball joining Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic in a talented foursome.
Meanwhile, youngsters Coby White and Patrick Williams should continue to develop while role players Alex Caruso, Derrick Jones Jr. and Tony Bradley will likely make an impact off the bench.
Don’t be shocked if Billy Donovan guides this team to a Central Division win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons.
Keep an eye on rookie Ayo Dosunmu, who I’m really high on. Coming from the University of Illinois as the 38th selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, he has the ability to fill the box score with confidence, having recorded 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the Illini last year.
At 6’5, he’s best slated to be a combo guard, but don’t be surprised if he finds his way on the court as an undersized three due to his ascension during the preseason. If you want to get really frisky, you can sprinkle some on Dosunmu at very long odds to win Rookie of the Year. Just sayin’.
Per BetMGM, the Raptors have +275 odds (26.7% implied probability) to make the playoffs. BetQL is giving them a 70.4% chance (-238 implied odds).
Toronto’s lineup is most likely going to consist of Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher with veteran Goran Dragic and rookie Scottie Barnes as the first men off the pine.
Look for Khem Birch, Malachi Flynn, and Precious Achiuwa to all serve roles off the bench as well. Keep in mind that both Siakam and Boucher are recovering from injuries, but should be back in action near the start of the season.
In the weak Eastern Conference, getting +275 odds on Nick Nurse’s squad makes a ton of sense. As we’ve seen in the past, he’s an elite coach who can get the most out of his players. Plus, Kyrie Irving’s absence in Brooklyn certainly creates more parity.
Don’t sleep on Barnes, who will likely see a lot of minutes. As the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Florida State, expectations are high in the long-term, but this team needs him to contribute immediately.
He averaged 9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 26.3 minutes per game during the preseason and if he can find his groove early on, this team has the potential to make some noise.
Per BetMGM, the Spurs have +650 odds (13.3% implied probability) to make the playoffs. BetQL is giving them a 74.2% chance (-287 implied odds) as this season’s surprise team.
After making the playoffs an NBA record 22 consecutive times, Gregg Popovich’s team has been rebuilding and is coming off back-to-back seasons missing out on the postseason. The model projects that short streak to end, as does Audacy’s Trysta Krick.
The development and health of starting core Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl will be of paramount importance, but this team got some solid reinforcements in the offseason. Doug McDermott will likely start at the three while Thaddeus Young will be a key member of the second unit. Meanwhile, Lonnie Walker IV, Bryn Forbes, Devin Vassell and Drew Eubanks will likely all benefit from another offseason in San Antonio’s development program. Zach Collins will also add frontcourt depth when he returns from his injury in early 2022.
The team’s 12th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft was Alabama’s Josh Primo, who is still just 18 years old. Therefore, it’s clear that Popovich is comfortable leaning on his young core. Like most other coaching legends, it’s probably best to trust his judgement. Get +650 on San Antonio to make the playoffs in the crowded and talented West.
Ready to make these bets? Take a look at any of these exclusive offers from our sportsbook partners now: