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NBA Central Division Futures: Bucks are Overwhelming Favorites to take Divisional Crown

NBA Central Division Betting Odds January 3 2019

Although the Bucks have only a slim lead in the NBA’s Central Division, oddsmakers feel confident enough to have Milwaukee as the huge odds-on favorite to win the divisional crown.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Bucks at -420 followed by the Indiana Pacers at +315, the Detroit Pistons at +1500, and both the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers at +100000.

Since the Cavaliers and Bulls have more interest in competing for the basement in the NBA standings, let’s break down the odds for the remaining three teams in the Central Division:

Milwaukee Bucks -420

Having arguably the best player in the NBA should usually put you over the top (condolences to Anthony Davis) and Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing like a man on a mission. The Greek Freak is averaging 26.3 points and 12.6 rebounds and leads the NBA in points in the paint. Having three other players to average over 15 points per game obviously helps and has propelled Milwaukee to have the highest points per game average in the league. The Bucks are also killing teams at home as they are 17-3 SU in 20 games (best in the NBA) and regularly topping teams by double digits. There’s obviously no value at -420 and I think that number is skewed a little too high considering they only have a 1.5-game lead over the Pacers.

Indiana Pacers +315

My preseason pick to win the division, the Pacers are competitive this year due to their defense. Indiana leads the NBA in fewest points allowed per game and has used a slower pace to control the shot clock and make teams beat it in the half court. The Pacers are 5-2 SU in seven divisional games this season and have shown that they can hang with the Bucks, splitting the first two games in the series. Victor Oladipo may not be having the impact season he had last year but other players like Domantas Sabonis and Thaddeus Young are stepping up and they may have one of the most complete rosters in the NBA. At +315, this is prime value if you think that the Pacers can rise to the top.

Detroit Pistons +1500

I won’t spend too much time on the Pistons as they’re nine games back of the Bucks for the division lead and are 4-4 SU in eight divisional games this season. The Pistons went 4-12 SU in 16 games in December and are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. They rank 24th in points per game and are dead last in the league in field-goal percentage and 29th in three-point percentage. I still think they can make the playoffs as they’re currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings but to ask them to win the division and only offer a +1500 price tag? Get outta here.

Odds to win the NBA Central Division in 2018-19
TeamOdds
Milwaukee Bucks-420
Indiana Pacers+315
Detroit Pistons+1500
Chicago Bulls+100000
Cleveland Cavaliers+100000

Odds as of January 3 at Bovada

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have owned the Central Division for the last four years, but with LeBron James departing Northeast Ohio for the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles, the division is wide open heading into the 2018-19 NBA season.

At Bovada, the Milwaukee Bucks are the +110 favorites to win the Central banner, with the Indiana Pacers (+130), Detroit Pistons (+650), Chicago Bulls (+3500) and Cavaliers (+3500) rounding out the list.

The time is now for Milwaukee to take the leap

The Bucks, who haven’t won the division since the 2000-01 season, are primed to be a contender in the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future. They possess the most talented player in the division in Giannis Antetokounmpo and an excellent supporting cast highlighted by Thon Maker, Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon.

Milwaukee has made the playoffs in three of the last four years but has failed to get out of the first round in each of them, and another early postseason exit would be a massive disappointment for a fan base that’s been waiting on the franchise to take the next step. With Bron Bron in the Western Conference, the time is now for the young Bucks to claim the Central.

Can Oladipo lead the Pacers to a Central banner?

When the Pacers traded superstar small forward and longtime fan favorite Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer of 2017, many fans and pundits expected Indy to take a tumble down the standings and receive a high lottery pick. But the Pacers actually improved without George, finishing the year with a 48-34 record – six wins better than the 2016-17 campaign – before eventually bowing out of the playoffs in a spirited seven-game series to the Cavs.

The biggest reason for Indiana’s surprising showing was shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who was acquired in the George trade along with Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo had a breakout season in 2017-18, posting a career-high 23.1 points per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from downtown. If the Pacers are to win the Central this year, he’s going to have to put the team on his back and then some.

As for the Pistons, Bulls and Cavaliers, Detroit is seen as the only other team besides Milwaukee and Indiana having a chance to make a run for the division crown. On the heels of an underwhelming 39-43 SU season, the Pistons front office decided it was time for a shakeup, which meant head coach Stan Van Gundy was given his walking papers. Ex-Toronto Raptors bench boss Dwane Casey was brought to Motown in Van Gundy’s place, but the Pistons have some work to do in order to get back to the playoffs.

Odds to win the NBA Central Division in 2018-19
TeamOdds
Milwaukee Bucks+110
Indiana Pacers+130
Detroit Pistons+650
Chicago Bulls+3500
Cleveland Cavaliers+3500

Odds as of October 16 at Bovada

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