The Central Division has been very active this offseason, with three of their top players, Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Kyrie Irving leaving the Bulls, Pacers and Cavaliers respectively.
The Pistons also lost one of their top players when they failed to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who ended up going to the Lakers on a one-year deal, leaving the Bucks as the only team that didn’t lose a key contributor.
Regardless of all the changes, the Cavaliers, the reigning Central Division champions, should have no trouble repeating. Review Bovada before wagering on games and continue reading for our Central Division preview, from a betting point of view.
Last season’s record: 51-31
Kyrie Irving is gone but the Cavs will still be a force to be reckoned with in a very weak conference. LeBron James can carry any team to the playoffs and even though they lost Irving, Cleveland still added a lot to this roster. Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade will help them have incredible depth.
Isaiah Thomas will miss some time though and his return to the court will play a huge factor in their season win total. The more time he misses the more difficult it will be to surpass 53 wins.
Season win total at Bovada: 53.5
Projected win total: 52
Last season’s record: 42-40
The Bucks return nearly every player from last year’s team that lost to the Raptors in six games in the first round of the playoffs. Only Michael Beasley left. Milwaukee’s biggest improvement will come from their young core: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Thon Maker.
If these four players take the next step and continue to get better, the Bucks will have all the boost they need and keep in mind that Jabari Parker could return around the All-Star break, so he’ll basically be like a midseason trade acquisition.
He might not be 100 percent but if he can provide at least half of the offense he displayed last year, he will help them. Look for the Bucks to improve last year’s record because of the growth of their young players.
Season win total at Bovada: 47.5
Projected win total: 48
Last season’s record: 37-45
The Pistons are an interesting case, they’re not bad enough to tank like the Bulls or good enough to make a playoff run like the Cavaliers. Caldwell-Pope joining the Lakers created a void at shooting guard, so Detroit traded for Avery Bradley. The former Celtic will help with his defensive ability and toughness but Caldwell-Pope will be missed. Drafting Luke Kennard was a smart move and his scoring ability makes up for Bradley’s weakness on offense.
A lot of Detroit’s 2017-18 season will depend on Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson’s ability to bounce back and play as All-Star caliber contributors. If Drummond and Jackson don’t return to form, the Pistons might rebuild, but if no moves are made they’ll come close to their win total from last season.
Season win total at Bovada: 38.5
Projected win total: 36
Last season’s record: 42-40
The Pacers made a pretty bad trade, sending Paul George to the Thunder for two flawed players, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Indiana also lost two more starters, Jeff Teague and Monta Ellis. Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic will replace them and the Pacers also added underrated guard Cory Joseph, who will help their overall depth but this team won’t have nearly as much talent as it did last season.
Season win total at Bovada: 31.5
Projected win total: 3
Last season’s record: 41-41
The Bulls got Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen for Jimmy Butler. All three have plenty of potential and they could end up being solid players for them but the rest of their roster is weak. Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade left, so the Bulls are in for a complete rebuild and this will be the first of many long seasons for them.
Season win total at Bovada: 22
Projected win total: 30