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DraftKings Sportsbook NBA Betting Preview: Central Division Odds and Lines

Matt LaMarca previews the NBA’s Central Division with DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds.

NBA: Preseason-Oklahoma City Thunder at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s Central Division features some interesting squads this season. There are some potential up-and-comers, but one team ultimately wears the crown. The Milwaukee Bucks have won this division in three straight seasons, and they are widely expected to do it again in 2021-22.

What else can we expect from this division? Let’s dive in on DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Milwaukee Bucks

Championship Odds: +900

Eastern Conference Odds: +390

Division Odds: -900

Win Total Over/Under: 54.5

MVP Contender: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+900)

6th Man of the Year Contender: Bobby Portis (+1900)

The Bucks have been one of the best regular-season teams in basketball for a while now, and they finally got over the hump in the postseason last season. They had plenty of injury help – especially from the Brooklyn Nets – but they ultimately took home the franchise’s first NBA Championship since 1971.

The team is bringing back virtually the same core as last season, so expect them to be contenders once again. They have arguably the best player in the league in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is an absolute terror on both ends of the floor. He’ll be in the running for the MVP award, but there is some voter fatigue with him after winning it twice in back-to-back seasons. The Bucks have also prioritized load management with their stars during the regular season, so Giannis won’t have to carry as large of a workload as some of his contemporaries.

The Bucks will lean on the same core that carried them to the title last year, with P.J. Tucker serving as the biggest departure. That’s a big loss – he was instrumental against Kevin Durant in the Eastern Conference Finals – but Semi Ojeleye has the potential to fill a similar role this season. They also brought in some perimeter shooting with George Hill, Grayson Allen, and Rodney Hood this offseason, while Jordan Nwora could crack the rotation in his second professional season.

Overall, very little stands between this team and another deep postseason run.

Chicago Bulls

Championship Odds: +8000

Eastern Conference Odds: +3500

Division Odds: +950

Win Total Over/Under: 42.5

MVP Contender: Zach LaVine (+8000)

Coach of the Year Contender: Billy Donovan (+1000)

6th Man of the Year Contender: Coby White (+1600)

This is arguably the most talented Bulls team since they won 50 games back in 2014-15. Zach LaVine quietly put together an outstanding season last season, combining excellent scoring numbers with elite volume. He averaged more than 27 points per game while shooting 50.7% from the field, 41.9% from 3-point range, and 84.9% from the free-throw line.

They also brought in Nikola Vucevic before the trade deadline, and while he couldn’t push them to a playoff spot, he definitely improves the team this season. DeMar DeRozan was also acquired in free agency, giving the team an impressive top three.

The rest of the roster is also promising. Lonzo Ball was also brought in as a free agent, while Patrick Williams and Coby White have both shown flashes during their young careers.

It will be up to head coach Billy Donovan to put all the pieces together. If he can do that, he’ll have a good shot of taking home Coach of the Year. He’s one of the favorites in that department, but he fits the profile of coaches who typically win that award. If he’s able to take the Bulls from a perennial lottery team to a top-five record in the conference, he’ll be in the conversation.

Indiana Pacers

Championship Odds: +10000

Eastern Conference Odds: +4000

Division Odds: +1100

Win Total Over/Under: 42.5

MVP Contender: Domantas Sabonis (+6500)

Rookie of the Year Contender: Chris Duarte (+3000)

Like the Bulls, the Pacers are a team that could make a jump this season. They barely managed to qualify for the play-in tournament last season, which undersells the amount of talent on their roster.

Their biggest addition this offseason was not a player, but a coach. They brought in Rick Carlisle, who has long been regarded as one of the best in the business. He led the Mavericks to a title in 2011 and to a playoff spot in eight of his 12 seasons as coach. The team floundered under first-time head coach Nate Bjorkgren last year, but that shouldn’t be a problem with Carlisle at the helm.

Domantas Sabonis is the Pacers’ talisman. He’s made back-to-back All-Star teams and is capable of dominating a game in multiple ways. He averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game, and he displayed a bit more prowess behind the 3-point line. He could enter the conversation of the game’s truly elite big men if he takes another step forward in that department this season.

The Pacers should also benefit from a full season with Caris LeVert in the lineup. He was acquired as part of the trade that sent James Harden to the Nets, but he ended up playing in just 35 games. Adding him to Malcolm Brogdon gives the Pacers a legit backcourt punch alongside Sabonis.

The biggest question with the rest of the roster is health. T.J. Warren was one of the stars from the Orlando bubble, but he played just four games last season. Jeremy Lamb was limited to 36, while Myles Turner played 47. If they can get more games out of their role players this season, they can make a strong move up the standings.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Championship Odds: +100000

Eastern Conference Odds: +30000

Division Odds: +15000

Win Total Over/Under: 27.5

Rookie of the Year Contender: Evan Mobley (+900)

Most Improved Player Contenders: Collin Sexton (+1500), Darius Garland (+2200)

The bottom two teams in this division are playing for the future. The Cavaliers have had a host of lottery picks over the past few years, and they added Evan Mobley with the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He’s an intriguing prospect out of USC that can do the two things most desired from big men in the modern NBA: space the floor and protect the rim. He averaged 2.9 blocks per game in his only collegiate season while shooting 57.8% from the field, 30.0% from 3-point range, and 69.4% from the free-throw line. He’s not a deadeye 3-point shooter just yet, but he could develop into a legit threat in that area.

Mobley will play alongside Jarrett Allen, who was the Cavaliers’ big prize in the Harden deal. He was rewarded with a five-year, $100 million contract during the offseason, and he provided excellent per-minute numbers with the Cavaliers and Nets last season. The challenge will be keeping that same level of production for more minutes this season.

Collin Sexton and Darius Garland will handle the backcourt duties, and both players flashed at times last season. Sexton is more of a scorer, and he quietly averaged 24.3 points per game on 47.5% shooting in 2020-21. Garland is more of a playmaker, leading the team with 6.1 assists per game. Both players are breakout candidates this season, making them legit sleepers to win the Most Improved Player award.

Detroit Pistons

Championship Odds: +100000

Eastern Conference Odds: +30000

Division Odds: +15000

Win Total Over/Under: 25.5

Rookie of the Year Contender: Cade Cunningham (+250)

Most Improved Player Contenders: Jerami Grant (+3500), Saddiq Bey (+4500)

The Pistons had the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, which they unsurprisingly used on Cade Cunningham. He’s expected to be handed the reigns of the offense on day one, which makes him the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award.

There will be some growing pains for Cunningham, but he should rack up big counting stats. He was similarly asked to do it all in his lone season at Oklahoma State, and he responded with averages of 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.

The rest of the roster isn’t quite as promising. Jerami Grant had a breakout season in his first season with the Pistons, averaging 22.3 points per game. It’s hard to see him taking another step forward this season.

The growth will have to come from the rest of the Pistons’ core. That includes Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and Killian Hayes, all of whom will be asked to take on more responsibilities this season.

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