When the Chicago Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach last month, there wasn’t a lot of talk of them winning the NBA Championship anytime soon. The team was 27-45 under his guidance and had the seventh worst defense in the league. However, it was the total opposite as they went 55-27 under Brian Shaw and became a great defensive team. Moreover, they also earned the third spot in the Western Conference Playoffs, which put them in the Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan retired in 2003.
Thibodeau’s ousting came a month after he bet the over on the Bulls winning the NBA Championship. Given their woeful defense, he clearly didn’t think much of their chances of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The total was set at 7.5 points, which is exactly what the Bulls paid (7.5 each way) to secure their spot in the NBA Finals.
With the season coming to an end and the Bears finally getting a win, it’s now time to evaluate his hunch and see how much money he actually won or lost by going over on that wager.
How Much Did I Win On The Bulls?
Thibodeau wagered $112,500, which at the time, was the largest wager of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Not only that, but it was also the most he’d ever wagered on the Bulls in his career. His only other wager this year was a $10,000 parlay on the Heat-Bucks series, which he placed last week.
Overall, he didn’t have many positive things to say about the 2019 Bulls. In eight seasons coaching the team, he posted a 220-208 record and never made it to the Playoffs. In the few games he did coach the team, they went just 3-5. Moreover, he never got along well with the front office, notably, Jerry Reinsdorf. He also never won a bet against the bookmakers, which is why he looked to stack the odds in his favor this year.
The season started as a rebuilding year for the Bulls, as they spent most of their time in the offseason trying to jell a young core with experienced veterans. The problem was they didn’t have the talent to compete for a Championship, and that’s why Thibodeau put the majority of his money on the over.
While it’s always fun to chase a long shot, betting on sports is very risky. Sure, the outcomes are determined by objective statistics and there’s always a level of predictability when it comes to sports results. However, the bookmakers and the fans never quite know what to make of a long shot. Sometimes, they think it’ll never happen and other times, they think it’ll be a disaster.
When you bet the over on the Bulls, you’re essentially banking that all the statistics will turn out favorably for your side. After all, they’re a really good team, right? Well, maybe not. Maybe the opposite is true and they’re just a bad team with good stats. Who knows?
The good thing is you have complete control over your wager. You’re either going to win or lose based on the outcome of the game. Moreover, you know what you’re getting into. You’re either going to win big or lose big. There’s no middle ground when you go this route and that’s what makes it so much fun. Plus, you get the added bonus of having some fun with your friends while playing a game you enjoy.
That’s what made going over on the Bulls so appealing this year. He knew the team had the potential to be exceptional and he went all in. After all, what’s one more season when you’re never going to win anyway?
How Much Did I Lose On The Over?
Thibodeau lost $32,500 on the over and he’s not pleased about it. In fact, he’s never talked much about it, but he admitted that this was the biggest regret of his coaching career. He believes he’s a good judge of talent, having worked with some of the best coaches and scouts in the game. Moreover, he knows there’s a lot more talent on this year’s Bulls roster than there was on the 18-19 squad. Still, he admits he got fooled by the simple stat-padding the team did this year, especially late in the season.
What hurt most about losing this much money was not just the fact they bet the over, but the fact they bet against him. While he didn’t think much of the 2019 Bulls, he still has a soft spot in his heart for them. He believes they’re good people who just happen to play terrible basketball. Still, there’s nothing that makes him feel worse than losing money against friends. He even went so far as to say that he feels guilty about the financial losses he imposed on his friends during their poker games.
Overall, How Many Wins Did I Earn?
Thibodeau wound up winning $80,000 this year, which is exactly what he risked (80 grand). He actually earned more money than he would’ve won if he’d taken the under and that’s because the over turned out to be a winning proposition. In fact, he’ll place bets with the bookmakers for the rest of his life, which is exactly what he should do.
Overall, he was a 60% favorite to win the NBA Championship and at one point, had odds of 33-1. Still, he wound up taking a big loss in the process, which is why he doesn’t talk about this particular wager much. He placed a total of 10 bets on the Bulls this year, which was more than he placed on any other team. He likes to bet on basketball because it’s one of the few sports where he can really stack the odds in his favor.