Demar DeRozan's Bulls are second in the NBA Central Division Odds.

NBA Central Division Odds: Bulls A Viable Underdog Bet

No division in basketball is as cut and dried as the Central, according to the sportsbooks, which is reflected in the NBA Central Division odds.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who were crowned NBA champions in 2020-21, are favored to win the division for the fifth straight season, per online sportsbook Sportsbook. They’re the chalkiest pick in the NBA in divisional races, too, as Giannis Antetokounmpo’s squad carries -450 odds to win the NBA Central Division in 2022-23. 

While you’re here, take a peek at some of our other basketball odds or our dedicated NBA betting news home page. If you’re in the mood for a different wager, you can also take a stab at the NBA Eastern Conference odds, which we have also broken down.

And if all this betting mumbo-jumbo has you flustered, don’t sweat it! Our How to Bet on NBA page will simplify things for you and have you ready to win some money betting in no time. 

Odds To Win The NBA Central Division

No data

Why Are The Bucks (-450) Heavily Favored To Win The Division?

The Bucks have been an Eastern Conference juggernaut over the last few years. Their roster has fully bought in to Mike Budenholzer’s offensive scheme – which involves minimal ball movement, slashing to the rim and kick-outs for three-pointers – and the end product has created a basketball powerhouse.

Since 2017-18, no team has more wins than Milwaukee (257), which is why the Bucks are favored in the odds to win the NBA Central Division for the fifth straight season. In 2022-23, the Bucks are expected to come out with some real fire. Giannis and company went all the way to Game 7 in the East semifinals last season without Khris Middleton, Milwaukee’s second-best player. With Middleton healthy, and complementary pieces like Jrue Holiday still around, it’ll be hard to dethrone the Bucks again this year. 

NBA Central Division Odds: Best Value Bet

Cleveland Cavaliers (+700)

I wouldn’t risk your college tuition on this long-shot bet, but at +700, the Cavs offer some spicy value if they can pull off a Cinderella season. Cleveland surprised everyone with an eighth-place finish last season and was just two games back of the Chicago Bulls for second in the Central. At 44-38, the Cavaliers actually had a better point differential (+2.1) than several playoff clubs, including the Bulls.

The Cavs lost both their play-in games a year ago, but with youngsters Evan Mobley and Darius Garland ready for another crack at it, there’s a good chance this team takes another step forward. Collin Sexton’s free agency status is an X factor here, too, so it’s best to grab value at +700 before the guard re-signs or takes his talents elsewhere.

NBA Central Division Odds: Best Bet

Chicago Bulls (+450) 

The Bulls came on strong last year, largely due to a career year from DeMar DeRozan. The shooting guard transformed into an even more efficient scoring machine, banging three-pointers at a career-high .352 clip. Chicago kept its big three together this offseason, handing Zach LaVine a five-year max contract to keep him on the floor with Lonzo Ball and DeRozan. All the pieces are there for another run.

So how do the Bulls beat Milwaukee? Firstly, DeRozan needs to keep up his wild scoring pace from last year. Secondly, Chicago needs another excellent defensive showing from center Nikola Vucevic, who finished near the top of the league in total rebounds per game (11.0). Another factor will be how well the Bulls protect the ball. Last year they committed the sixth-fewest turnovers in the league, a touch better than the Bucks. 

Chicago will need some lucky breaks – and perhaps some injuries in Milwaukee’s camp – but there’s a path to the top of the division and the Bulls certainly have the playmakers to be division winners. 

Last 10 NBA Central Division Winners

NBA Central Division Winners by Year
YearWinning TeamRecord
2021-22Milwaukee Bucks51-31
2020-21Milwaukee Bucks46-26
2019-20Milwaukee Bucks56-17
2018-19Milwaukee Bucks60-22
2017-18Cleveland Cavaliers50-32
2016-17Cleveland Cavaliers51-31
2015-16Cleveland Cavaliers57-25
2014-15Cleveland Cavaliers53-29
2013-14Indiana Pacers56-26
2012-13Indiana Pacers49-32

As we discussed earlier, the Bucks have owned the NBA Central Division since 2018. The table above shows us why Milwaukee is the heaviest divisional favorite in the NBA right now. But when the mighty fall, there’s money to be made. Instead, we see these results as an opportunity to cash in on some valuable underdogs. 

Reading NBA Central Division Odds

When you visit a basketball betting site, you’ll notice futures odds laid out like this:

Milwaukee Bucks -105

Cleveland Cavaliers +240

In this case, the Bucks have an 51.22 percent chance of winning the Central and the Cavs have a 29.41 percent shot. It’s important to remember that the sportsbook takes a cut of each bet. This is referred to as the vig or the juice. That doesn’t mean you can’t get value on your bets – more on that in a bit.

Let’s say you’re all-in on Milwaukee and drop $100 on the Bucks. You’d get a payout of $195.24 – your original $100 is returned along with your winnings of $95.24. Or, if you’re thinking the Cavs are going to come out on top, that same $100 would get you $340 – your original money comes back coupled with your loot of $240.

To find out what you’d win based on the odds and amount bet, check out our Odds Calculator.

What Is A Futures Bet On The Central Division?

Any bet made on events that will happen in time is a futures bet. Here, the bet is on an NBA team taking their division. You can make this kind of bet weeks or even months in advance.

The odds will shift as the season plays out to reflect surging or failing teams. As we mentioned before, you can get great value on your bets if you grab odds you like as soon as they’re available. A winning bet on a squad at plus money (+) gives you a better payout than taking them at minus money (-).