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Illinois betting: We're bullish on Chicago's odds to win the NBA title

Yahoo Sports US logo Yahoo Sports US 3/5/2022 Greg Brainos

It's been nearly a quarter of a century since Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their sixth championship. Jordan left after that 1997-98 season and the "Windy City" hasn't been back in the NBA Finals since. Another MVP-level talent with a lethal mid-range jumper is seeking to change that, though. DeMar DeRozan has been carrying a hobbled Bulls team this year, but those injured players are expected to return soon, which means now is the perfect time to wager on the Bulls to win the NBA championship at +2500 on BetMGM.

Key pieces set to return

Point guard Lonzo Ball was shooting a career-high 42.3% from beyond the arc before he suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee in January. Within a week, shooting guard Alex Caruso fractured his wrist on a dirty play from Bucks guard Grayson Allen. The fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Bulls forward Patrick Williams, tore ligaments in his wrist just five games into this season. Ball and Caruso are expected back in the next few weeks, while Williams is likely to return closer to the start of the playoffs. Chicago has the deepest and most defensively ferocious backcourt in the league when healthy, and getting Williams back in the lineup arguably makes the Bulls the deepest team in the East. Once everyone is back on the court, Chicago's odds will shorten, and the value on an NBA title run will disappear.

The Chicago Bulls are +2500 to win the NBA championship this season. (Matt Marton/USA TODAY) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports The Chicago Bulls are +2500 to win the NBA championship this season. (Matt Marton/USA TODAY)

Why Chicago can win it all

Five of the last nine teams to win a championship led the league in shooting percentage. Chicago currently ranks first (48.4%). When you get into the postseason, games tighten up and it becomes essential to have a player you can rely on in the clutch. DeRozan ranks second in the league this season in clutch field goals made (36). He's also fifth in the NBA in scoring average (28.1), nine spots ahead of teammate Zach LaVine (24.5). The Bulls' offensive efficiency, defensive prowess, and depth give them as good of a chance as anyone to win the wide-open East (+1400) and possibly even the championship (+2500).

Red flags for the Bulls

Chicago coach Billy Donovan is 18-23 in the postseason, never leading his team to the Finals. The Bulls are 10-17 versus teams with a winning record this season and 3-15 against the top five seeds in the East and West. DeRozan, Caruso and Ball are all in their first year with Chicago and injuries have prevented this team from being able to play together. Even if everyone returns before the playoffs, it could take some additional time for the full team to jell.

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Stats provided by Basketball Reference, teamrankings.com and nba.com.

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