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NBA Central: Mid-Season Review / Updated Futures

With the first half of the NBA regular season officially in the books, we can now look back at how each team fared and what their odds will be to take down the 2012-2013 championship. Their are three playoff hopefuls in the Central Division and two teams currently on the outside-looking-in. Here’s a closer look at each squad.

Indiana Pacers: 32-21, Odds – 22/1

The Pacers are leading the Central by a game and a half at the All-Star break, but surprisingly odds makers still favor the second place Bulls over Indiana in title potential. However, the Pacers have certainly shown they are for real. With one of the best defenses in the league and a 21-5 home record, the Pacers – who are currently in third place in the East – could make a serious playoff run. That’s why bettors should be getting more value with the Pacers at 22/1 over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls in the Central.

Chicago Bulls: 30-22, Odds – 16/1

With Derrick Rose likely out for the season, the Chicago Bulls will certainly have a tough time winning the division, much less the championship. They’ve had a good year without their star player, but there’s no question they are a different team with him. The odds on the Bulls seem a bit too generous considering their current position, so I’d stay away from Chicago at 16/1.

Milwaukee Bucks: 26-25, Odds – 150/1

Considering 2012-2013 has been a bit tumultuous for the Buck, they’ve actually turned in a respectable first half. The team has already gone through a coaching change after Scott Skiles and the organization parted ways last month, but they’ve maintained their position in eighth place in the East. Considering they hold a four game edge over the ninth-place 76ers, it’s safe to assume Milwaukee will make the postseason, but with a likely first-round-date with the Miami Heat, the Bucks probably won’t go far. Still at 150/1, it probably wouldn’t hurt to toss a small wager their way. It’s a bet with huge upside and virtually no risk if you don’t put a lot of money down.

Detroit Pistons: 21-33, Odds – 200/1

Although the Pistons have steadily improved as the season has gone on, they are still in an unfavorable position at 21-33 on the year. The playoffs aren’t out of reach, but it seems very unlikely that their season will continue after the regular season. Detroit hasn’t been able to find a way to win away from home, as they posted a 6-18 road record during the first half of the season. That certainly doesn’t bode well for them going forward. Unlike the Bucks – who are a halfway decent pick for having some playoff potential – the Pistons are a tough sell even at 200/1. Stay away from this one.

Cleveland Cavaliers: 16-37, Odds – 2500/1

Then of course, there’s the lowly Cavs. Needless to say, it’s been tough sledding for the basement dweller, as the Cavs have struggled without their big man Anderson Varejao – who was lost for the season after being hospitalized with a blood clot. Since there’s really no chance at a postseason berth for Cleveland, their astronomically poor odds are indeed warranted. Theoretically could they turn things around? Sure, but realistically, no. Stay as far away from Cleveland as you can. It may seem tempting to throw a small wager their way just in case, but it’s guaranteed you’ll be throwing money away if you do.

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