Year 1 of the Bulls rebuild was a combination of missed games, midseason trades, benchings in favor of younger players and - let's admit it - a little bit of tanking.
Cris Felicio averaged 24.2 minutes per game after the All-Star break.
The end result was a 27-win season, the 7th most NBA Lottery ping-pong balls and, all things considered, a positive outlook on the rebuild. After yet another successful offseason the Bulls are trending upward, especially in an Eastern Conference that just lost LeBron James to Los Angeles.
But Las Vegas isn't buying it.
Westgate sportsbook released their over-under win totals for the 2018-19 season, and the Bulls are peculiarly sitting at 27.5.
Let's make a quick list of everything that happened last season that got the Bulls to 27 wins:
Kris Dunn missed 30 games. Zach LaVine missed nearly 60 games. Even Lauri Markkanen missed 14 games.
Yes, Nikola Mirotic was single-handedly responsible for that wild eight-game winning streak before he was traded in February. But the Bulls played at a 24-win pace AFTER the Mirotic deal (9-22). And that was with the missed games from their core, and Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday sitting a large portion of those games.
The team also added Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, two rookies who figure to see time, and Jabari Parker. Defensive issues aside, the Bulls are a better team with Parker in the fold. Their only real loss from a year ago is David Nwaba. He'll be missed defensively but doesn't exactly move the needle in terms of the Bulls' season outlook.
Even with a most pessimistic outlook, the Bulls will be better than they were a year ago. Even something as small as playing the LeBron-less Cavs four times will make a difference (the Bulls were swept by James last season).
This seems like an easy hit on the over for the Bulls.