It is looking like a two-team race in the Central Division as the NBA regular season draws closer, and that’s only if you squint really hard. The Milwaukee Bucks finished with the best record in the league a season ago and have eyes on winning the championship in 2019-20. A division title seems a mere formality, and the oddsmakers see it the same way was Milwaukee has been pegged as the big-time favorite. The Indiana Pacers seem like the only team truly capable of giving the Bucks a scare in the Central this season.
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- Milwaukee Bucks -700
- Indiana Pacers +435
- Detroit Pistons +4500
- Chicago Bulls +5000
- Cleveland Cavaliers +9000
Central Division Odds Analysis
The Bucks finished with 60 victories last season but were disappointed to lose in the Eastern Conference Finals against the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is back and he seems primed to have an absolutely monster season. The Bucks aren’t just a one-man band, as there are other players that have a great deal of talent, including Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe. This is one of the most well-rounded teams in the NBA with a superstar leading the way. Milwaukee was great last year and there is little reason to believe why 2019-20 will be any different.
The Pacers would love to make a run toward the top of the East and somehow find a way to beat out the Bucks for the Central division crown. Indiana played pretty well overall last season even after losing star forward Victor Oladipo to a season-ending injury. Oladipo is back to lead the way in 2019-20, and there are some other nice pieces on this team, including Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. The Pacers added Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren, among others, this offseason, and there is hope that this collection of players can push the Pacers to the top of the East.
That’s probably where the competition ends in the Central. The Pistons look like they should be a .500 team once again this year. They have an impressive frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, but there is a lack of scoring punch on this team that limits its ceiling. Griffin tried to recruit another high-profile player to Detroit this offseason but couldn’t get it done, and Detroit seems destined for another finish bordering on the playoffs.
The Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers will be in rebuilding mode this year. While there is a little bit of young talent on both rosters, it is nothing near enough for this team to truly compete in the Central. These franchises have both found great success in the past when they were led by Michael Jordan and LeBron James, respectively, but have fallen on hard times of late. There seems to be no practical way either of these teams competes in the Central in 2019-20.
The Bucks are huge favorites and a basketball wager on them would not pay off very well, but there is little other choice in the Central this year. The Greek Freak is young, talented and durable, so unless he suffers a major injury the Bucks are looking like a championship contender. The Pacers are a good team but they are not great, and that limited ceiling is going to make it hard for them to keep up with the high-flying Bucks all season long.
While underdog choices are fun to root for, it doesn’t make any sense in the Central Division in 2019-20. Look for Milwaukee to cruise to the crown.
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