Ever since LeBron James jumped ship with the Cleveland Cavaliers and headed west to the LA Lakers, the Milwaukee Bucks have been the dominant team in their division. Greek Freak and the Bucks are seeking a third-consecutive Central Division title, and they come into this season as an overwhelming -5000 odds favorite, according to a recent update by DraftKings.
Oddsmakers pegged the weak Central Division as a consensus landslide. The other five divisions in the NBA are somewhat competitive, but the Central is a one-horse race. Or shall we say, a one-Freak race?
In the last two seasons, the Bucks secured the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. In the 2018-19 season, the Bucks posted the best record in the NBA with a 60-22 clip.
Last season, the Bucks secured the NBA’s best record (56-17) in the shortened season. The Bucks were on pace to win 70 games, a feat that had only happened twice before with the Chicago Bulls (72 wins in 1995-96) and Golden State Warriors (73 wins in 2015-16).
|2021 NBA CENTRAL DIVISION ODDS|
- Milwaukee Bucks -5000
- Indiana Pacers +1200
- Chicago Bulls +5000
- Cleveland Cavaliers +15000
- Detroit Pistons +15000
This upcoming season features only 72 games. When bookies released NBA win totals back in November, the Bucks were at the top of the list with 49.5 o/u wins.
The Bucks also acquired Jrue Holiday in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday, considered one of the NBA’s best two-way players, will add additional scoring power, which the Bucks desperately needed during their disappointing playoff runs over the last two postseasons.
Once the Bucks added Holiday, their odds solidified at -5000 odds to win the Central division.
Indy Pacers Worth a Flier?
The Indiana Pacers hired Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach. Bjorkgren made a name for himself as a top assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors. He was on Toronto’s staff during their title run two seasons ago. Bjorkgren previously coached with the Phoenix Suns organization, but he also spent numerous years developing young players in the NBA G League.
“This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time,” said Pacers President Kevin Pritchard. “He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative, and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward.”
The Pacers have a great backcourt with Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon. If Oldadipo remains healthy, then the Pacers could give the Bucks a good fight. Otherwise, at +1200 odds, the Pacers are a long shot to win the Central Division.
The Pacers have Domantas Sabonis, the son of legendary Lithuanian hoopster Arvydas Sabonis. The younger Sabonis is a rebounding machine and ranked #5 last season, hauling down 12.4 rebounds per game. He also improved his scoring game, averaging 18.5 ppg (up from 14.1 ppg the previous season).
‘Raggedy as Hell’ Bottom Feeders
So, what about the rest of the teams in the Central? Save your money. You can stop reading now.
Oddsmakers have little faith in the trio of bottom feeders in the Central. The Chicago Bulls (29.5 o/u), Detroit Pistons (24.5 o/u), anc Cleveland Cavs (22.5 o/u) are listed in the bottom six in NBA win totals, along with other crappy teams like the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Charlotte Hornets.
LiAngelo Ball, the Jan Brady of the Ball family, signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Pistons in early December. He barely lasted two weeks — or a pair of preseason games — before the team cut him. In true LaVar Ball fashion, LiAngelo’s father unleashed a parting shot when he found out the Pistons cut his son.
“The people in Detroit are great,” said LaVar Ball. “I love the fans, but the franchise over there is raggedy as hell.”
“Raggedy as Hell” sounds like a speed-metal band name, but that’s the perfect phrase to describe the bottom three teams in the shallow Central, where the Chicago Bulls are +5000 odds to win the division, and the Cavs and Pistons are both ridiculous +15000 super-duper long shots.
Read more updates on NBA preseason divisional odds: Pacific, Northwest, and Southwest.