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Hawks and Bulls Both Getting Plus Odds to Make Eastern Conference Playoffs; Are Either Worth Betting?

Can Trae Young vault Atlanta into the playoff this season? Photo from @NBAPredictsMVP (Twitter)
  • Neither team has made the playoffs since 2016-17 season
  • Only the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks had worse records in the East last season
  • Both squads relying on youth entering 2019-20 season

The last couple of seasons have been trying times for fans of the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls. After both experienced almost ten year stretches of consistently making the playoffs, lately they have been on the outside looking in as the East’s elite teams charted a course towards the NBA Finals.

However, those two years in the NBA wilderness have allowed them to acquire some exciting assets to build around, restoring hope that postseason play could soon be returning to both cities.

Will Atlanta Hawks make 2019-20 Playoffs?

To Make Playoffs Odds at Bovada
Yes +225
No -285

*Odds taken 9/03/19

Hawks Look to Spread Their Wings

With the likes of Trae Young and John Collins headlining a youthful roster, excitement is building in Atlanta.

The pair helped boost Atlanta’s win total from 24 wins in 2018 to 29 wins at the end of last season. That number could have been even higher but for the 15 games that Collins missed to start the season with an ankle injury, the Hawks going 3-12 in his absence.

However, the team also lost some important veterans this off-season, with Taurean Prince, Dewayne Dedmon and Kent Bazemore, three of the team’s top-six scorers, leaving through trade and free agency.

Those losses were offset slightly by the haul the team picked up at the draft, acquiring top-10 picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, to go along with Bruno Fernando.

And while Reddish’s Duke teammate Zion Williamson took much of the spotlight at the draft, fellow rookies picked Atlanta’s first-round pair to have better pro careers.

Only time will tell if the incoming freshman class was right. But given the growing pains that almost every first-year player experiences coming into the NBA, those contributions probably won’t arrive in time to lift the team into the playoffs this year.

So while improvement should be on the horizon for the Hawks this year, it is likely a little too soon to plug them in for the postseason.

Will Chicago Bulls make 2019-20 Playoffs?

To Make Playoffs Odds at Bovada
Yes +325
No -450

Will Windy City Woes Continue?

While Atlanta made a five-win improvement year over year between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, the Chicago Bulls went the other way, dropping from 27 wins to 22.

A midseason coaching change hardly helped matters either, as Fred Hoiberg was axed after just 24 games and replaced by Jim Boylen.

The Bulls will again rely on their young core to make headway this year, although they will be hoping for better luck on the injury front. Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen were restricted to 63 and 52 games respectively, while Kris Dunn and 2018 first-round pick Wendell Carter played just 46 and 44 games each.

Of course, a Rookie of the Year campaign by Coby White, taken seventh overall out of North Carolina, could help further Chicago’s playoff quest. But with White sitting at fifth in the betting for ROY, it’s far from a sure thing.

The team also signed dependable veteran Thaddeus Young, who gives this injury-riddled team some dependability health-wise. Young has played at least 63 games in 11 of his 13 NBA seasons.

Chicago will likely need more than simply a healthy roster to contend for a playoff spot. Consequently, the 2019-20 season has likely come too early in the team’s rebuild for a return to the postseason.

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