Sure, we all know the defending champions are going to rule the Central division this season in the NBA. However, is there value in any of the NBA Odds from Bovada from some of these other teams?
I’ll just start by saying that in no way am I betting against the Cavaliers to win the Central. There is simply no way. Barring a season-ending injury to Lebron James and a subsequent collapse, there is no way they don’t win the division. Even with the improvements in Indiana and the general improvement of the division as a whole, the Cavs are still too strong.
The addition of a presumably healthy Mike Dunleavy and the more than likely signing of JR Smith later in the preseason, the Cavs are a deep team with great defense and the best player in the world. Don’t even think about fading them.
The First Underdog - Indiana Pacers (+1200)
However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume the Cavs are vulnerable. The Pacers are easily the best team in the division. Paul George is also easily the second best player in the division, right in front of Giannis Antetokounmpo and right behind James.
PG13 is coming off a great Olympics, which generally leads to solid seasons the following year. Plus, additions of Jeff Teague and Thad Young make this team a 50-win candidate. Myles Turner is a borderline star in his second season, and with veterans like Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis, this team is probably the second-best team in the East.
The Long Shot – Detroit Pistons (+2500)
Detroit impressed last season after acquiring Tobias Harris and along with their additions of Boban Marjanovic and Jon Leuer, this is one of the youngest teams in the league, but also one with the most upside. If all goes well for the Pistons, they could find themselves as one of the top five or six teams in the East this season, which would put them in striking distance of the Cavs and Pacers.
However, youth tends to always have problems at some point in the season. So, while Stan Van Gundy is an excellent coach and even with their young firepower, the Pistons also lack a true offensive star like George or James. Andre Drummond is not the player that will take a team on his back offensively, and with youth also comes inconsistency. This is why they are a long shot.