NBA Central Division 2019-20 Odds

  • BetOnline has the Milwaukee Bucks (-400) as the heavy favorite to win the NBA’s Central Division
  • The Indiana Pacers (+350) are relying on the healthy return of Victor Oladipo
  • The Pistons, Bulls and Cavaliers all appear years away from contention

The short version of this divisional preview is as follows: Giannis Antetokounmpo plays for the Milwaukee Bucks so they will almost certainly win the Central.

The reigning NBA MVP averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game last season and he doesn’t even have a jump shot yet. In fact, the Greek Freak estimated he’s only at 60 percent of his potential.

So, do the Pacers, Pistons, Bulls and Cavaliers even have a chance until Giannis inevitably leaves for a bigger market in 2021? Let’s look at the odds at BetOnline to see if there are any longshots worth taking a shot on.

NBA CENTRAL DIVISION ODDS

 Team Odds
Milwaukee Bucks -400
Indiana Pacers +350
Detroit Pistons +1600
Chicago Bulls +5000
Cleveland Cavaliers +15000

THE FAVORITE: MILWAUKEE BUCKS

With Kawhi Leonard out of Canada and Kevin Durant in recovery, the Bucks will likely never have a better opportunity to make the NBA Finals and maybe, just maybe win their first NBA championship since 1971.

Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer led Milwaukee to the best record in the NBA (60-22) last year and the supporting cast around Giannis will be mostly the same after the club re-upped forward Khris Middleton to a five-year, $178-million contract.

Malcolm Brogden’s departure to the division-rival Pacers leaves the Bucks a bit thin at point guard, but the team added some much-needed outside shooting in veterans Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews. They also reunited the Lopez brothers for the first time since Brook and Robin were teammates at Stanford University in 2007.

More important than any of these tidbits, of course, is the fact that the 24-year-old Antetokounmpo is bound to get even better after an MVP season that saw him finish with the 12th-best Player Efficiency Rating of all-time (trailing only seasons by Wilt, Jordan, LeBron and Curry).

THE RUNNER-UP: INDIANA PACERS

How bad is the Central? The Pacers will be without Victor Oladipo for at least half the season, as the star guard continues to recover from a major knee injury, and are still favored to be the division’s second-best team.

Indiana lured Brogden away from the Cheese State with a four-year, $85 million offer sheet, and the 2017 Rookie of the Year might be worth it after becoming just the eighth member of the exclusive 50–40–90 club.

Last season, the 26-year-old shot 50.5 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from three and 92.8 percent from the free-throw line, averaging 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

THE REST OF THE DIVISION

Detroit finished with a .500 record (41-41) in 2018/19 before getting swept by the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. Considering their biggest free-agent acquisition was Derrick Rose, it’s safe to assume they won’t be much better this year.

While it’s sad to think about how far the Pistons franchise has fallen since the Bad Boys era, what about the Chicago Bulls? Their top free-agent signings were Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. Considering the city’s astronomical murder rate, it’s safe to say that at least a few fans would kill for a Derrick Rose reunion about now.

Last, and also least, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team made a surprise move in hiring John Beilein away from the University of Michigan, but they’re still years away from contention.

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.