The Central division is a weird one to grade as a whole. They have the reigning NBA champions as their main team. However, they may struggle to get even one more team into the NBA Playoffs.
A lopsided division, it seems as the Milwaukee Bucks will cruise to the division title. Meanwhile, other teams aim to get a low playoff berth.
These teams, specifically, refer to the Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls, who made clever moves in order to pursue a postseason showing.
As for the other two teams in the division—they will fight to be the worst team in basketball.
Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons have little to no hope of having a good season. Both are in full rebuild mode and shouldn’t make any noise.
It was a walk in the park for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020. With a record of 46-26, the Bucks were 12 games apart from the division runner up, the Pacers.
Actually, the Bucks were the only team with a winning record last season. Not only did they dominate, but they also went ahead and won the whole.
The Pacers came in second, with a 34-38 mark. Indiana has been a mainstay in the NBA playoffs the last few years, but this time, the 47% win percentage got them into the play-in tournament. They were eliminated there.
They had a few injuries here and there, but the reality is the squad is too thin, and that killed them.
After them, it was the Chicago Bulls who finished third in the division rankings. They won 43% of their games. The SG Zach LaVine played on top form, but the team was not good enough to match his play, hence another losing season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have two periods in their history. The dreadful, and the LeBron James era. Yes, a couple of playoffs appearances here and there, but without James, they are awful.
At least in the last 30 years. So, the Cavs were really bad. Injuries to their leader, PF Kevin Love, hampered the season early on, so it all relied on two youngsters mainly.
While it helped to develop them into the future leaders of the franchise, it wasn’t nearly enough to give the Cavs a respectable chance.
The Detroit Pistons settled on being the worst record in the NBA. They only won 20 games and had the first seed in the NBA Draft.
With a new project insight, the Pistons did not care about the 2020 season. They realized it soon enough, so they quickly tanked the season.
This really is a divided division in the Eastern Conference. So, if they are sports-wise split, let’s analyze them as so.
As defending champions, it’s clear the Milwaukee Bucks are the favorites once again to earn the Central Division title. The -1000 odds say the oddsmakers think likewise.
The 2x MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best power forward in the league. He has grown unguardable for the rest of the league. Antetokounmpo comes fresh off averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists per game.
The Bucks finally found the point guard they needed to complement Giannis. Jrue Holiday was brilliant down the stretch and came up big in the playoffs. He averaged 17.7 points, 6 assists, and 1.6 steals. The big three were sealed by SF Khris Middleton.
He was a perimeter threat and a 20 points per game scorer. Middleton finally stepped up to his potential and delivered big time.
Now it’s time to be the hunted, not the hunter, as all teams will try to dethrone them. But, division-wise, nobody should be able to touch them at the pinnacle of the Central division.
Chicago made some moves to improve their squad, and they might actually even make it to the playoffs this time. They brought 4x All-Star SF DeMar DeRozan, PG Lonzo Ball, and All-Star C Nikola Vucevic to the roster.
They all join LaVine in a revamped starting five. The good thing is they also added a much-needed perimeter defense. SG Alex Caruso is joining the team. He, alongside PG Coby White, will come from the bench.
The Bulls are not a powerhouse, but they can be a team to look out for as a postseason participant.
While the Bulls are on the rise, the Pacers have fallen down, but are still capable of fighting for a playoff berth. Their team has some good players. SG Caris LeVert can be a borderline All-Star if healthy. Same can be said about PF Domantas Sabonis.
Coming back from injury, SF TJ Warren will aim to come back with a vengeance. Recovering Warren is a big step forward for the Pacers.
Hustlers like C Myles Turner and backup guard TJ McConnell will be a great defensive duo.
The Pacers hired a top head coach like Rick Carlisle, which means they enter a new era of cleverly designed basketball.
Carlisle is a top 10 coach in this league, and he has done wonders with mid-quality rosters, which is exactly what he has in Indiana.
Both Cleveland and Detroit are very bad basketball teams. Let’s start with the Cavs, as their roster is stronger than the Pistons’.
Now, let’s look at the “biggest” names of the Cavs squad. C Jarrett Allen, PF Kevin Love, PF Lauri Markkanen, and C Tacko Fall. The frontcourt of the Cavs might actually be a decent one.
Allen is an excellent rim protector. Fall is a promising player—the tallest of them all at 7’5″, he will be able to block with ease. As for the forwards, Markkanen and Love can spread the floor and bring some three-pointers.
It’s an interesting backcourt. Veteran PG Ricky Rubio is a magnificent facilitator. He comes like the “star” signing of the offseason.
Rubio will serve as a mentor of the two prospects the Cavs have in their hands, guard Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.
Both of them combined for 41.7 points a night. The assist department was limited, but that’s where Rubio comes in. It’s the beginning of something promising at The Land.
As for Detroit, their rebuild is just starting. They have two great prospects to command this new era from them. No.1 overall pick, SG Cade Cunningham, and rookie F Luka Garza, who was stellar for Georgia last season, are two players the Pistons should be keen on surrounding with talent.
They have forwards Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk to start mentoring them.
Anyway, Detroit’s roster is not a good one. The roster is thin, nor do they want to have a loaded one right now.
It’s still a few years from now to see the Pistons getting back into the mix. Motor City’s engines are still with no power behind them.
It’s always important to shop around NBA lines to get the odds that will put more money in your pockets. This is the first step you need to do to help yourself.
Then, consider three numbers—the odds, handle, and percentage of bets. They will help you to further understand your bets.
The odds are what give you the profit to risk ratio of the bet. A minus sign prior to the odds number means the risk you have to take to get $100 in return.
A plus sign means what the profit will be once you lay $100 on the line. As you can see in this division, the Bulls are +1200 to win the division. This means a $100 bet will give you $1200 in return if Chicago pulls the miracle of winning the Central Division.
Next is the handle. This is the percentage of total bets a team gets in a given bet, this time, to win the division. If the Pacers have a 5% handle, it means 5% of all money wagered in the Central Division winner is going to Indiana.
The last thing to watch for is the percentage of bets. This represents the number of bets—not the amount—that each team receives.
For instance, let’s say the Bucks are getting 90% of the percentage of bets. However, they have 60% of the handle. This implies smaller bets are being placed on the Bucks.
1. Log into your sportsbook account.
2. Look for the NBA odds tab.
3. Click on ‘Team Futures’ from the drop-down menu.
4. Select ‘Division Winner’.
5. Submit your bet from the bet slip window that pops on the right side of the screen.