NBA Futures: Central Division Odds

To the surprise of no one, the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers kick off their 2014-2015 NBA campaign as strong -200 favorites at Bovada to win the NBA’s Central Division.

The return of prodigal son LeBron James, along with the off-season acquisition of Kevin Love, transformed the Cavs overnight from 33-win doormats a year ago to NBA championship favorites.

Hope springs eternal for the Chicago Bulls, who are pegged at a solid +160 in NBA futures betting at Bovada. Once again, the Bulls’ success will hinge on the availability of oft-injured star point guard Derrick Rose, who will be joined by forward Pau Gasol, signed by the Bulls this summer.

The Indiana Pacers, minus Paul George, who is expected to miss significant time with a broken leg, tumble to +2500 in Central Division futures betting at Bovada. The Pacers finished atop the Eastern Conference with 56 wins last season, but minus George are expected to struggle against the beefed-up Cavs and Bulls.

The Detroit Pistons, winners of just 29 games last season, trail with of +2500 odds at Bovada, while the Milwaukee Bucks are Central Division longshots with distant odds of +10000.

Odds to Win 2015 NBA Central Division at Bovada as of October 15

Chicago Bulls +160
Cleveland Cavaliers -200
Detroit Pistons +5000
Indiana Pacers +2500
Milwaukee Bucks +10000

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Without Derrick Rose in the lineup the Chicago Bulls ended up 4.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers in the NBA's Central Division standings last season, but with Rose coming back this year they're the division favorites at the sportsbooks.

At Bovada the Bulls are pegged as the -150 favorites to win the Central Division title this season, with the Pacers sitting behind them on that list at +140 odds.

The other three teams in the Central Division are then all longshots to claim that title this season, with the Cleveland Cavaliers at +1400, the Detroit Pistons at +1800, and the Milwaukee Bucks at +6600.

The Bucks ended up 11.5 games behind the Pacers in third place in the Central Division standings last season, with the Pistons 20.5 games behind in fourth place, and the Cavaliers 25.5 games back in the division basement.

Odds to Win 2014 NBA Central Division at Bovada

Chicago Bulls -150
Indiana Pacers +140
Cleveland Cavaliers +1400
Detroit Pistons +1800
Milwaukee Bucks +6600

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If Derrick Rose were healthy, a Chicago Bulls Central Division title might be a near certainty.

But with the team’s heart-and-soul point guard on the shelf with a torn ACL and no return date currently set, the picture becomes quite a bit foggier.

Coming off of two years in a row with the NBA’s best regular season record, the Bulls are still the betting favorite to win the Central Division at TopBet at -175 going into the season. Chicago didn’t make a splash in free agency to try and replace Rose’s production, so it would appear that the Bulls are hoping that the current core led by Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah can keep the team in the hunt until Rose is ready to return.

If any head coach is up to the task of getting the most out of his players, it is Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau.

With Derrick Rose out for at least half of the season (in all likelihood), this could be the time for the Indiana Pacers (+125 to win the Central Division) to pounce. Indiana doesn’t have the star power of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, but Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger, David West, Paul George and George Hill are a solid starting five from top to bottom, and this team has a good bench too.

Coming off of a 42-24 SU effort in 2011-12, the Pacers are a logical choice for the division’s top spot if the Bulls falter.

The Milwaukee Bucks (+2500) are loaded with talented bigs in the front court and on the bench and have a pair of offensively gifted guards in Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings as well. There will likely be a learning curve as this team tries to figure out what it wants to be, but the Bucks should push for a playoff spot this year and could take a big step forward if they gel out of the gate.

The Cleveland Cavaliers (+5000) and Detroit Pistons (+5000) are both still early in their rebuilds. Rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters joins Kyrie Irving in Cleveland to form what could be one of the game’s most exciting young guard tandems for years to come.

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