Odds to Win the NBA Central Division 2012: Bulls Favored

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Odds to Win the NBA Central Division 2012:  Bulls Favored

Carrie Stroup here with your odds to win the NBA Central Division for 2012.  The Chicago Bulls are favored.  Remember to claim up to $250 in cash at Sportsbook.com here (restrictions do apply). 


2010-11 record: 62-20, 1st place in the Central Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 5-to-2

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 6-to-1

In Derrick Rose, they have the reigning MVP. And under head coach Tom Thibodeau, they play the best team defense in the NBA. They were the best rebounding team in the NBA last year. There’s no reason Chicago can’t win an NBA title.

And yet, they’re clearly behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference pecking order. The problem is that, when it comes down to it, Rose (25.0 PPG, 7.7 APG) is Chicago’s only go-to guy in the clutch. And he’s just not enough of a shot maker.

Last year, Rose got off to a torrid start, showing off a new-found ability to knock down jumpers. By New Year’s, he was making 45.1% of his field goals and 39.1% from three. After that, he shot 44.2% from the field and 30.4% from three. In the postseason, he hit just 39.6% of his shots and 24.8% of his threes. And in the conference finals loss to Miami, he shot 35.0% from the field and 23.3% from three over five games.

It may be too much to ask Rose, a point guard who thrives at getting to the basket, to start knocking down the jumpers you need to hit in the playoffs, when those drives in the line become a lot more clogged.

Rose does have a strong enough supporting cast. SF Luol Deng (17.4 PPG) has become a solid complimentary scorer as well as an excellent lockdown defender, in the mold of a young Tayshaun Prince. C Joakim Noah (11.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG) is as good a low-post defender as there is in the NBA.

PF Carlos Boozer (17.5 PPG, 9.6 RPG) became an Achilles heel in last year’s postseason; a liability on the defensive end of the floor who struggled offensively in the playoffs (12.6 PPG on 43.3% shooting). The team offered nagging injuries as an excuse. PF Taj Gibson (7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG), a defensive stud, often played over Boozer in the postseason, but his offensive game is limited. Boozer’s mid-range shooting could be the difference between this team making a run to the Finals and falling short again.



2010-11 record: 35-47, 3rd place in the Central Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 50-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 100-to-1


One thing you have to say about a Scott Skiles-coached team: They always compete on the defensive end of the court.

Despite a lack of any truly elite defenders, Milwaukee was fourth in the NBA in team defensive efficiency last year. That’s right about where the good news ends though.

Milwaukee was the least efficient offensive team in the NBA. They were dead last in field goal percentage (43.0%) and 24th in three-point shooting (34.2%). PG Brandon Jennings (16.2 PPG) is a high-volume shooter who made just 39.0% of his shots last year. The Bucks are hoping that newly-acquired SG Stephen Jackson (18.5 PPG with Charlotte) can be a better fit in the flow of the offense than departed chucker John Salmons. Milwaukee also signed free agent Mike Dunleavy (11.2 PPG, 40.2% from three) to help with spacing. He’ll take some minutes from SG Carlos Delfino (11.5 PPG) as a quality all-around wing who probably took too many shots last year.

C Andrew Bogut (12.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.6 BPG) is a solid complementary offensive player who anchors their defense inside the arc. But as a team, the Bucks also don’t rebound it particularly well, and overpaying PF Drew Gooden (11.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG) two offseasons ago wasn’t the answer. Skiles often prefers to go with swing forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (6.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG), a restricted free agent who is likely to be retained. He’s an excellent defensive player with limited appeal otherwise.



2010-11 record: 37-45, 2nd place in the Central Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 50-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 100-to-1


Head coach Frank Vogel will get his first full season with the Pacers after helping lead them to the playoffs a year ago. After starting the year 17-27, the Pacers went 20-18 under Vogel and gave the top-seeded Bulls some nervous moments in their five-game series.

Indiana has a unique blend of talent. Swing forward Danny Granger (20.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG) is the focal point of the offense, but he’s a streaky perimeter shooter (42.5% from the field) who takes a lot of questionable shots. PG Darren Collison (13.2 PPG, 5.1 APG) is effective in Indy’s up-tempo attack, and C Roy Hibbert (12.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG) is uniquely skilled at 7-foot-2, 278 pounds. However, Hibbert is a bit of a square peg in Vogel’s up-tempo system.

Combo guard George Hill (11.6 PPG, 37.7% 3-pt FG with San Antonio) should fill the three-point shooting void created by the departure of Mike Dunleavy. He was a valuable role player in three years with the Spurs and has a chance to take on a featured role for the Pacers.

Indiana could take a big step forward if they get improved play from PF Tyler Hansbrough (11.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG) and second-year swingman Paul George (7.8 PPG). Hansbrough had some moments in the 2011 postseason, scoring 22 in Indiana’s Game 1 near-upset of the top-seeded Bulls. His mid-range jumper was falling in that game, and if it’s more consistent this year, he’ll be a double-double threat (after shooting 10-for-19 from the field in Game 1, Hansbrough shot just 10-for-41 over the rest of the series). At 6-foot-8, George is a lockdown defender in the making. He moved into the starting lineup late last year and was a big reason for Indy’s late-season turnaround.




2010-11 record: 19-63, 5th place in the Central Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 50-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 100-to-1


Obviously, the franchise was caught completely off-guard by the departure of LeBron James, as they had no contingency plan in place. This is really going to be the first year of the post-LeBron era.

And the Cavs are off to a good start as far as their long-term success is concerned. PG Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall pick of June’s draft, should step in as a capable floor general immediately, and he has All-Star upside down the road, especially under the guidance of head coach Byron Scott.

They got a little more versatile by swapping PF J.J. Hickson for SF Omri Casspi (8.6 PPG for Sacramento), who at 6-foot-9 can conceivably play three spots on the floor. With the fourth pick of the draft, they added Hickson’s replacement, Tristan Thompson, who will be a bit of a project but has a nice back-to-the-basket game.

The Cavs still have some veteran presence to surround Irving with. F Antawn Jamison (18.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG) and C Anderson Varejao (9.1 PPG, 9.6 RPG) are quality NBA starters, and G Ramon Sessions (13.3 PPG, 5.2 APG) can take some of the ball-handling duties from Irving. With the length and athleticism of Casspi and SG Christian Eyenga (6.9 PPG) on the perimeter, they have a chance to be a solid defensive team.




2010-11 record: 30-52, 4th place in the Central Division

Odds to Win 2011-12 Eastern Conference: 50-to-1

Odds to Win 2011-12 NBA Championship: 100-to-1

Just four years removed from a run of six straight conference finals appearances, the Pistons are blowing it up.

They released SG Richard Hamilton (14.1 PPG), and SF Tayshaun Prince (14.1 PPG) seems likely to be moved as well. But they are taking some positive steps forward.

The reign of John Kuester was an absolute nightmare, complete with back-to-back, 50-loss seasons for the first time since the mid-90’s and a reported player mutiny last winter. The most shocking statistic from their 2010-11 campaign might be the fact that Detroit, once the NBA’s prime example of team defense, ranked third-to-last in defensive efficiency last season

Respected veteran coach Lawrence Frank should add some stability to a messy situation. Second-year C Greg Monroe (9.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG) is a perfect fit in Frank’s version of the Princeton offense. They have 6-foot-11 F Austin Daye (7.5 PPG, 40.1% from three) as a unique option to stretch the floor, and frankly G Ben Gordon (11.2 PPG) can’t play any worse than he did under Kuester. Whether or not they can retain restricted free agent G Rodney Stuckey (15.5 PPG, 5.2 APG)—a likelihood considering their ability to match any other offers he get—will go a long way towards their rebuilding process.

They reached for Kentucky PG Brandon Knight in the draft; he seems to be at least a year away from being a contributor.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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