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2020 NBA Central Division Prediction, Odds, and Win Totals

Quinn Allen

by Quinn Allen in NBA Basketball

Dec 19, 2020 · 7:49 AM PST

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) during the Bucks v Hornets game on January 24, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are a heavy favorite to win the Central Division
  • Indiana expected to contend, while Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland will most likely struggle
  • See below for a preview of the Central and our pick to win the division

While the Milwaukee Bucks will be certainly focused on fighting for an Eastern Conference title, they should have no problems winning the Central Division by a longshot as the NBA Divisional Odds favor them at -1450.

In 2019/20, they finished with a 56-17 record, finishing 11 games above the Indiana Pacers. It was the second year in a row that Milwaukee won this division.

Central Division Odds and Win Totals

Team Odds to Win Division Odds to Win Conference Championship Odds to Win NBA Finals Win Total
Milwaukee Bucks -1450 +240 +550 50.5
Indiana Pacers +1200 +5500 +10000 37.5
Chicago Bulls +6500 +10000 +13000 28.5
Cleveland Cavaliers +8500 +13000 +25000 22.5
Detroit Pistons +10000 +10000 +25000 23.5

Odds taken Dec 18 at Fanduel

The Central Division seems to be the Bucks to lose. But let’s go team-by-team and find out how this Central division will be played out.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • 2019/20 record: 56-17
  • 2019/20 points per game: 118.7 (1st)
  • 2019/20 points allowed per game: 108.6 (8th)
  • 2019/20 offensive rating: 112.4 (8th)
  • 2019/20 defensive rating: 102.9 (1st)

Prior to the bubble, the Bucks were nothing short of outstanding. Mike Budenholzer’s team struggled in their games before the playoffs in Florida, going 3-5. And ultimately lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Miami Heat.

After going into the season as a heavy favorite to win it all, Milwaukee once again fell short in crunch time. With this in mind, the front office made the necessary moves in the 2020 offseason.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Jrue Holiday George Hill
D.J. Augustin Eric Bledsoe
Bryn Forbes Wesley Matthews
Torrey Craig Robin Lopez

The Bucks gave up several key players that played a part in their success the last few years. Hill was a natural bucket-getter, while Bledsoe and Matthews were lockdown defenders. However, acquiring Holiday in the blockbuster trade with NOLA was a massive upgrade to their backcourt. He’s arguably one of the best defenders in the league but also has the ability to drop 20+ a game and dish out assists.

Getting shooters to surround Antetokounmpo was key. The Bucks addressed that need, bringing in Bryn Forbes and D.J. Augustin, who are both efficient from downtown.

With the Greek Freak solidifying his future with the franchise, the time is now. After a disappointing exit last season, Milwaukee will be hungry to make a title run. They should be able to win the East and the Central Division, finishing just slightly above 50.5 wins.

Pick: 1st in Central Division, 52-20

Indiana Pacers

  • 2019/20 record: 45-28
  • 2019/20 points per game: 109.4 (23rd)
  • 2019/20 points allowed per game: 107.5 (3rd)
  • 2019/20 offensive rating: 110 (19th)
  • 2019/20 defensive rating: 108 (6th)

After losing star guard Victor Oladipo for most of the season, the Pacers actually enjoyed a solid campaign thanks to the dominance of Domantas Sabonis, T.J. Warren, and Malcolm Brogdon.

A quiet offseason and Oladipo back to full health should see this team be a competitor once again.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Cassius Stanley T.J. Leaf
Jalen Lecque Alize Johnson

Cassius Stanley is the highlight here, with Indiana selecting the former Duke standout with the 54th pick of the 2020 draft. He has the potential to be a solid 3 and D player at the NBA level, always an asset to any organization.

With a new coach, Nick Bjorken, and their core of Sabonis, Brogdon, Warren, and Oladipo intact, I expect this team to make some noise in the East. 2nd place in the Central Division is a lockdown and over 37.5 wins is a safe bet.

Pick: 40-32 (2nd)

Chicago Bulls

  • 2019/20 record: 22-43
  • 2019/20 points per game: 106.8 (27th)
  • 2019/20 points allowed per game: 109.9 (14th)
  • 2019/20 offensive rating: 106.7 (27th)
  • 2019/20 defensive rating: 109.8 (12th)

Chicago has lingered at the bottom of the East for several years now and their offseason didn’t really make them better. They do have some promising young players, led by Zach LaVine, who averaged 25.5 points per game last season. Lauri Markkanen has yet to really live up to expectations, but second-year guard Coby White is worth watching after his rookie season.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Patrick Williams Shaquille Harrison
Noah Vonleh Max Strus

For the Bulls, it more comes down to the players they currently have. On paper, they’re a talented team, but have yet to execute results. Patrick Williams was rising on draft boards and was nabbed by the Bulls with the 4th overall pick. He’s a versatile defender and a physical presence around the rim on both ends of the floor.

There is certainly some promise on this team. The playoffs are still a pipe dream at this point, but they should be able to exceed their win total and finish in third place in the Central Division.

Pick 29-43 (3rd)

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 2019/20 record: 19-46
  • 2019/20 points per game: 106.9 (26th)
  • 2019/20 points allowed per game: 114.8 (22nd)
  • 2019/20 offensive rating: 107.5 (25th)
  • 2019/20 defensive rating: 115.4 (29th)

Ever since LeBron James left for the Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been dreadful. Their rebuild is starting to come together, with several youngsters continuing to develop and a very talented lottery pick in Isaac Okoro.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Isaac Okoro Tristan Thompson
Thon Maker Ante Zizic
JaVale McGee

Okoro has shown off his versatile skill set in preseason. The former Auburn star looks to be a key player for the Cavs. He’s a wonderful facilitator and more than quick enough to get to the rim and finish amongst bigs.

With Tristan Thompson gone and Andre Drummond healthy again, he should make up for the absence of the Canadian big man along with the addition of McGee.

Collin Sexton led Cleveland last season in points per game with over 20 and with a couple of seasoned veterans like Kevin Love and Drummond also around, there’s hope that this team can slowly get back to relevance.

It’s going to take time. They’ll  finish just behind the Pistons in this division but will win more games than last season.

Pick: 23-49 (5th)

Detroit Pistons

  • 2019/20 record: 20-46
  • 2019/20 points per game: 107.2 (25th)
  • 2019/20 points allowed per game: 110.8 (15th)
  • 2019/20 offensive rating: 109 (21st)
  • 2019/20 defensive rating: 112.7 (22nd)

With a completely new front office, the Pistons went through a complete overhaul this offseason, bringing in 10 new players.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Jerami Grant Tony Snell
Killian Hayes Luke Kennard
Mason Plumlee Christian Wood
Jahlil Okafor Langston Galloway
Delon Wright John Henson

The Pistons had four picks in the 2020 draft, headlined by the 7th overall pick, Killian Hayes. Hayes played professionally in France and with Derrick Rose mentoring him, he should fare well in his rookie season given his advanced skill set.

Detroit strengthened their roster in the bigs department with Plumlee, and Okafor. Wood is a significant loss, but this team should have enough to make up for his absence.

Griffin is still a monster and Rose boasting impactful talent still, there’s a lot to look forward to with the Pistons.

They’re still not quite a playoff team, but will take strides and finish just behind the Bulls in the Central.

Pick: 28-44 (4th)

Other Division Previews:

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