Will he or won’t he return? According to NBA futures action in Las Vegas, he will.
“He” is Derrick Rose and the popular bet to win the NBA Championship over the past week has been the Chicago Bulls. Reports and rumors of Rose’s return from a devastating knee injury have sparked betting interest in Chicago, which currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re starting to see it,” Aaron Kessler, sportsbook supervisor at the Golden Nugget, told Covers. “We’ve taken more action on (Chicago) for the past week.”
The Bulls were recently adjusted from 12-1 to 8-1 at the Golden Nugget and other books around town have Chicago even higher on their NBA futures board.
At the MGM Mirage, the Bulls have been a popular play all season long, even before reports of Rose’s return. They opened Chicago at 10-1 and had it as high as 20-1 before being bet down to their current price of 6-1.
“Actually, when it comes to the number of (futures) tickets, Chicago is a close second in terms of tickets written for the whole season, behind Oklahoma City,” Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage, told Covers. “They would be a loser for us if they won the championship today.”
Rose returned to 5-on-5 drills this week and according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the former NBA MVP looked "ready to go". The Bulls are playing it coy with Rose’s status for this season and have repeated that they are not rushing him back from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last April. Chicago has done well without its star player, leaning on defense to build a 31-22 SU record (23-30 ATS).
According to sportsbooks, Rose is worth between two and four points to the spread. His return would not only spark more interest in the Bulls’ futures prices but also their nightly games. Rose would undoubtedly have his playing time capped for the first few weeks of his return – if he does return at all.
“He’s probably worth more like three points,” says Kessler. “He’s a hell of a player but it would seem foolish to rush him back and plug him right into the starting lineup.”
The Rose-less Bulls host the defending champion Miami Heat Thursday. Oddsmaker have sent out a suggested spread of Chicago +3 with the total set at 189.