The Central Division in the NBA is starting to shape up. The Milwaukee Bucks have dominated the division since Giannis Antetokounmpo started to ball out for Milwaukee.
But now the division has a couple of threats between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, while the Pacers and Pistons likely aren’t playoff contenders yet, those teams have bright futures ahead.
But are those futures bright enough to earn more wins than their projected totals from top-rated sportsbooks? Here’s a breakdown of each team’s win total with NBA picks for the Central Division in the NBA.
The Milwaukee Bucks earned 51 wins last season, finishing 27-14 at home and 24-17 on the road. The Bucks destroyed the division, winning 12-4 in games against Central opponents.
The Bucks still own the division, but other teams got better in the division. It might be a bit harder to earn wins against those opponents.
The Bucks didn’t do much to improve their roster. What you saw last year is basically what you’ll get this year. Joe Ingles and Wes Mathews were exciting additions at shooting guard.
They’ll help space the floor on the offensive end and give Antetokounmpo someone to pass to when driving the ball.
Whom to Rely On
As long as Khris Middleton is healthy and Jrue Holiday stays on the floor, the Bucks are going to be really good.
You’re not going to get the same production as last year as other teams started to improve their squads.
The Bucks will have George Hill and Brook Lopez healthy for an entire season.
That will help a little bit. But I just don’t see how Milwaukee will improve from last year with the roster they’ve got this year. Let’s take the Under 52.5 wins.
The Cavaliers are serious about winning. The Cavs just traded for Donovan Mitchell to create an intense lineup of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.
That will be a tough out every time teams play that lineup. The bench is also pretty solid between Ricky Rubio, Cedi Osman, Raul Neto, Kevin Love, Lamar Stevens, and Robin Lopez.
The Cavs feel like they’re in a place where they can compete for more than just a playoff spot. They went after Donovan Mitchell, who is a proven winner.
He was dominant with Utah and should continue his dominance with a better lineup in Cleveland.
NBA Pick: Cavaliers Over 46.5 (-130) at BetOnline
The Bulls don’t have the most stars on their team, but they might be deeper than the Bucks in a lot of regards. The Bulls will have a starting lineup of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vucevic.
Off the bench, they’ll have young potential stars like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. They’ll also develop Dalen Terry. At the forward and center spot, the Bulls signed Andre Drummond and still have Derrick Jones and Javonte Green coming off the bench.
The Bulls have a ton of depth, and if they can stay healthy and beat above .500 teams, they’ll get above their win total in the NBA odds. Last year, the Bulls were just 19-22 on the road and 10-6 in divisional play.
This team is too talented to lose more games on the road. They’ve got to figure that out, and I think they will.
NBA Pick: Bulls Over 43.5 Wins (+100) at BetOnline
The Pacers are among the worst teams in the division and possibly the NBA. Tyrese Haliburton was a great pickup but will be paired with an inconsistent Buddy Hield at guard.
Meanwhile, the Pacers will look to get top production out of Terry Taylor and Oshae Brissett, along with Myles Turner. There’s just no star power on this team other than Haliburton, and he’s a guy that works well when he’s getting dimes.
He won’t get many with this team. Benedict Mathurin should be helpful, and if he’s in the starting lineup next to Haliburton and Hield, that will work. But nothing about this roster gives me much confidence in the Pacers this season.
NBA Pick: Pacers Under 24.5 Wins (-115) at BetOnline
The Pistons went 23-59 last season but have a win total number sitting at 28.5 heading into this year. There’s the hype surrounding this club with Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, and new rookie selection, Jaden Ivey.
They also traded for Jalen Duren, who should be a significant asset to the Pistons this year.
If I’m being honest, the depth for the Pistons is real. Alec Burks, Kemba Walker, Killian Hayes, Cory Joseph, Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Livers, Rodney McGruder, Hamidou Diallo, and Kelly Olynyk will be fighting for minutes.
The better players will play, which will help lead the Pistons to at least 30 wins on the season.
NBA Pick: Knicks Over 28.5 Wins (-115) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.