As any player of the stock market and the spports market knows, the Nuills and the Bears both rreside in Chicago. Until recently, neither has been very exciting to watch. But in the NBA palyoffs which begin tohight, the Bulls have a chance at '20 to 1. They won 20 of their last 24 games.
Chicago is the second longest price quoted on the big board in las Vegas. Only Detroit, at 30 to 1, is higher, the Pistons' price having come in from 40 to 1 with the return of Bob Lanier.
Philadelphia at 5 to 2, is favored to go all the way, followed by Los Angeles, 3 to 1, Denver, 4 to 1, and Houston, 5 to 1. These are the divisional champions and as such, earned a firstround bye.
Portland is 6 to 1, Washington 6 to 1, Golden State 8 to 1, Boston 10 to 1, Cleveland 15 to 1, and San Antonio, 15 to 1.
Were it not for the fact that Los Angeles, Denver and POrtland are particular tough to beat at homw I'd take a real fling on Chicsgo. Instead I'll touch lighyly on the Bulls, the Trail Blazers and the 76ers (as a saver) in this future book devoted to following the bouncing ball, evcen though Chicago plays Portland in the first round.
Artis Gilmore and Bill Walton are the keys. If Gilmorre is mentally prepared, and if Walton is physically sound, these two centers can take their team as far as they want to go. Both can be particularly effective against kareem Abdul Jsbbar. He, of course, makes the Lakers the West favorite.
Who knows how Philadelphia will fill its role of the overwhelming choice in the East? It has become popular to say the 76ers, playing separately, will be elimated together. Maybe so, but I wouldn't bet against them in any one series. There is too much talent there.
The Bullets have enjoyed an excellent season. It reamins to be seen whether coach Dick Motta, having put together a stronger bench, can get consistently superior efforts from Elvin hayes and Phil Chnier now that the name of the game is Money Ball.
I can't see Washington geting past Houston, although it's possibble. Certainly they will not beat Philadelphia. If there is one team in the league against which the Bullets do not match up, it is the 76ers. Wes Unseld trying to take Julius Erving is painful to behold.
Conversly, Washington matches up beautifully against Boston, while the Celthics are the one team in the East, with Charlie Scott healthy, that could most readily eliminate Philadelphia from further competitiom.
The colleges are a better show than the pros during the professionals' regular truly something to see, with everybody playing or at least attepting to play defense.
ONe final paly defense.
One final aproach to pulverizing the pros may prove helpful.Take, or give, the points on the visiting team throughout every series. I have found in the past that the linemaker does not adjust quickly enough to the home floor advantage becoming a little less important. Visiting teams, in the longer series, become more familiar on that foreign court. It's an edge.