The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks are massive favorites to win the NBA Central Division for the fourth consecutive season, and the champs enter the season at -900 odds, while the Chicago Bulls are their closest competition at +950 odds.

Chicago Bulls Nikola Vucevic Milwaukee Bucks NBA Central Division odds
Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic draws a double team from the Milwaukee Bucks last season. (Image: Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports)

The gap between the Bucks and Bulls marks the widest divisional margin between the outright favorite and second favorite in the league.

NBA Central Division Odds
  • Milwaukee Bucks -900
  • Chicago Bulls +950
  • Indiana Pacers +1100
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +15000
  • Detroit Pistons +150000

The Bucks aren’t the consensus favorite to win the 2022 NBA Championship; they’re actually third on the NBA futures board at +900 odds behind the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Bucks are +400 odds to win the Eastern Conference finals and return to the NBA Finals, whereas the Nets are even money.

Milwaukee Bucks -900

Winning an NBA championship is probably the second-hardest undertaking in the league. What’s the hardest? Retaining the title for a second year with back-to-back championship victories. In the last 50 years, it’s only been done by a handful of teams, including the LA Lakers (1987-88, 2000-03, and 2009-10), Houston Rockets (1994-1995), and Golden State Warriors (2017-18).

The Bucks begin their march toward a dynasty next week. It begins with a fourth-straight Central Division title for the Bucks, but the odds are ridiculous at -900.

Chicago Bulls +950

The Chicago Bulls have an up-and-coming star with Zach LaVine and one of the most underrated big men in the league with Nikola Vucevic. The Bulls spent some money in the offseason and added Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan to the lineup to help complement LaVine and Vucevic. They have an exciting starting five, plus a bench that includes Alex Caruso and Coby White. The Bulls have the best shot at tripping up the Bucks to win the Central Division crown. You can back them as a value pick at +950 odds.

Indiana Pacers +1100

The Indiana Pacers were a playoff team last year despite the fact the players hated their head coach because the notorious screamer thought was coaching a pro football team and not a hoops squad. Now that Nate Bjorkgren sleeps with the fishes, Rick Carlisle returns to Indiana to restore their mission to win a championship. Basketball is religion in Indiana, but the Pacers finally have the proper shepherd to lead their flock to the promised land. Domantas Sabonis was initially snubbed from the All-Star team, but made it as an injury replacement. He’s probably the most underrated player in the division. If Caris LeVert can stay healthy and TJ Warren finally returns from a foot injury, they have enough firepower to secure a postseason berth.

Cleveland Cavaliers +15000

The Cavaliers are still reeling from the second departure of LeBron James, so expect another long winter of discontent. The Cavs added Lauri Markkanen in a three-way trade, but he’s been as fragile as Kevin Love in the injury department. They have some young talent with Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen, and Isaac Okoro, but can they finally rise out of the Eastern Conference gutter and become a playoff squad? Their division odds at +15000 suggest no way.

Detroit Pistons +150000

It will be another race to the bottom this season with the two-worst teams in the Central Division — the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavs — battling for the dubious honor of worst team in the NBA. The Pistons were awarded the #1 pick in the draft and selected Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State. However, we’ll have to wait a bit to see his pro debut. Cunningham rolled his ankle during training camp and missed the preseason. The Pistons are a super-long shot to win the Central Division at +15000 odds.