NBA Futures: 2021-22 Central division odds, preview and best divisional bets: Can Milwaukee defend the title?

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dunks during the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns during game four of the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum
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Filip Tomic


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Long-time NBA fan, following the game closely for 21 years now. Joined the Pickswise writing staff for the 2020-21 season and have given out winning picks since. Hopefully we can make some money together! Oh, and I firmly believe Lebron James is not one of the two best basketball players of all time. Yeah, I said it. For Filip Tomic media enquiries, please email
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We are less than a week away from the 2021-22 NBA regular season tipping off and it’s time to look into the crystal ball and predict the outcome of each division. The Milwaukee Bucks made the Central Division the least competitive one last season, but with every team improving in the offseason could things end differently this time around?

Continue reading below for our free Central Division preview for the 2021-22 season.

Milwaukee Bucks

Odds to win division: -750
Win total: 56.5

We tip things off with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, who didn’t make any significant moves this offseason. Their three core guys Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are all still there, while their most notable departures were P.J. Tucker, Jeff Teague and Bryn Forbes. They did add three new players to compensate in Grayson Allen, veteran point guard George Hill and swingman Rodney Hood.

A lot of questions were raised during last season’s run in the playoffs, so the Bucks have enough motivation to prove their doubters wrong once again this year. With a title under their belt, the Bucks have enough experience and know what it takes to win, we could be in for another monster season by their MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Unless something catastrophic happens, they should be an easy pick to win the division at -750 odds with FanDuel.

Chicago Bulls

Odds to win division: +1000
Win total: 43.5

The team that made the most radical changes during this offseason are the Chicago Bulls. DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso were signed through free agency to compliment an already formidable duo of Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. As of writing this article, the Bulls are undefeated in the preseason beating the likes of Cleveland, New Orleans and Cleveland once more, so things are looking bright early on. However, it remains to be seen as to how the defense will cope with all the new additions, primarily DeRozan and Vucevic, who aren’t really known for doing well on that side of the ball.

One area the Bulls don’t have to worry about is scoring – LaVine has already established himself as one of the best offensive guards in the league, DeRozan is a proven threat from the mid-range, Lonzo Ball can play-make and has improved from the three-point line, while Vucevic is one of the most versatile big man in the game today. So yeah, there are a lot of positives heading into the new season and the expectations are higher than in previous years. I believe the Bulls have a good chance of winning over 43.5 games at -110 odds at FanDuel.

Indiana Pacers

Odds to win division: +1000
Win total: 42.5

Hiring Rick Carlisle as their head coach should be a massive improvement for the Indiana Pacers this season. The thing that might hinder them though will be injuries as two key players in TJ Warren and Caris LeVert are both out without any timetables set for their return. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner are two key pieces that will be relied on heavily until those two return and if they are able to keep the ship afloat until then the Pacers could be in a good position come playoff time.

One thing to keep an eye on with this team will be their shooting, something they’ve struggled with in recent years. Other than Malcolm Brogdon I don’t see anyone else being a consistent threat in this department, so it will be up to Carlisle to find ways around this. The perfect scenario for the Pacers would be to finish around the 6th seed this season, for that they’d have to be healthy all year long and I’m just not sure we can bank on that happening as things stand. Backing Indiana to win under 42.5 games this season at -110 odds is the way to go here.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Odds to win division: +12000
Win total: 27.5

Finishing with the 3rd worst record in the East last season was disappointing for the Cavaliers, but things have improved in the offseason — at least on paper. They’ve added veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, something that their backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland has never had before. They’ve also added rookie Evan Mobley who was picked third in the NBA Draft and big things are expected from him. Kevin Love is still on the team — he will most likely be traded at some point which should also result in a boost to their line-up as Love is pretty much worthless to them at this point.

They’ve improved their win total in the last two seasons and I expect them to do the same this year as well, although they shouldn’t pose a threat to any of the playoff teams. With the league getting back to their normal schedule of 82 regular-season games, I’d go with the Cavaliers winning 30 games or so, the over 27.5 games bet at -115 odds looks tempting on FanDuel.

Detroit Pistons

Odds to win division: +12000
Win total: 25.5

And lastly the team that finished with the worst record in the East last season – the Detroit Pistons. Jerami Grant was the only bright spot for this team, he averaged over 22 points per game, but this season he might not have to do as much. Expectations are high for Cade Cunningham who is already the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors. It’s pretty clear that this team is in a rebuilding phase, so we aren’t expecting much from them this season. Their main objective will be building chemistry and developing young talent for the future, so another bottom three finish in the East could do them well as they’d get another high draft pick next year. The future is definitely bright, however things could get ugly very quick as this team simply has no incentive to win any time soon. Back the Pistons to finish Under 25.5 wins this season.

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