While the two-time reigning champion Miami Heat are currently quite comfortable on top of their lofty pedestal, below, in a pit full of Heat-hungry cannibals, their competitors’ swipes at knocking them off and feasting on their flesh are coming ever closer to landing.
The Eric Spoelstra-coached Heat have been taken to a deciding Game Seven in both of their previous successful playoff runs, and last year needed every available game to beat both the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals respectively.
While their 2/1 price to win a third consecutive ring is warranted, it leaves the odds of the trailing pack looking extremely plump, and with Ladbrokes paying out on each-way punts at a third of the price, a safely negotiated path to the NBA Finals is all that is required to land a payday.
With that strategy in mind, siding with the 12/1-rated Chicago Bulls is a very sensible season-long bet, with Derrick Rose’s return from injury the major, but not only, reason to expect big things.
Rose, the 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player, missed the entirety of last season after suffering knee ligament damage in the first game of the 2012 playoffs.
His return will significantly boost an offense that scored 93.2 points per game without him last season – the second worst amount in the entire league – and his pre-season numbers of 13 points, three assists and three rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game indicate the point-guard is limbering up for an explosive return.
In addition, the Bulls won all three of their regular season matchups with the Heat during Rose’s last full season and have never ranked outside the top three for points allowed per game with defensive-guru Tom Thibodeau as coach.
With Rose once again available for inclusion, the omens are extremely positive for the once-dominating franchise, definitely making them the ones to watch this season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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