The NBA Central Division has seen the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers all emerge as premier teams.
Indiana and Detroit are struggling to put wins on the board, but that doesn’t mean bettors haven’t cashed in at the sportsbook.
We look at every team and how they have performed against the spread.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are by far the best team to bet on in the NBA. Not only have they been the surprise package at 29-19 overall, but they’re dominating spread markets.
They are 29-17-2 against the spread and they have the best +/- in the NBA, and it’s not close. Bettors have made a +5.8-unit profit betting on the Cavaliers, and the next best team are the Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat at +2.6.
Despite having a lot of young players on the team, such as Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, they continue to produce the goods, and betting online markets haven’t adjusted.
They’re not getting the respect they deserve, but bettors have been able to cash in. A big part of their success has been Kevin Love, who is playing a fantastic leadership role.
“We needed him to be big for us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Cleveland.com. “We know his ability to create shots, the gravity that he creates, when he’s out on the floor, when he’s making shots. We needed every bucket we could get, and especially in that time, we were having a hard time finding ways to generate points. I thought he was big for us.”
Bettors should continue backing the Cavaliers, who cover the spread at 64.4%.
Every other team in the Central division has a negative +/- but the Chicago Bulls still have an impressive record.
Despite a raft of injuries and disappointing recent results, the Bulls are 26-19-1 ATS. Most of the good work was done in the early stages, but we expect them to right the ship when the stars return.
NBA betting spreads often have the Bulls at sizable numbers because of their early success and the high expectations. This makes it harder to make money off backing them, but with a cover percentage of 57.8, they can’t be ignored.
Nothing is going right for the Indiana Pacers at 17-31, but despite their struggles, they have a winning record for spread bettors.
They are 23-22-3 ATS, despite a 5-19 away record and an 8-22 home record. It’s poor basketball for the win/loss column, but bettors often get sizable lines for the struggling Eastern Conference team.
The Pacers are only -0.1 in the +/-, so betting on them hasn’t been a bad strategy. We expect their form to pick up, so they could be a value team down the stretch, but they’re only 2-7 in division games, so avoid backing them against the Cavaliers, Bucks, Bulls or Pistons.
Last season’s NBA champions are 30-19 overall, but being the defending champions comes with expectation.
The Milwaukee Bucks are 21-28 ATS, so they’re not covering the sizable spreads set by bookmakers, which is a concern.
Most of their struggles have come on the road, but the Bucks are a team that can go on a tear. They could blow the opposition off the court, so betting against them is always dangerous.
However, they haven’t shown much so far and they won’t be featuring in our NBA best bets.
It has been a dreadful season for the Detroit Pistons, but there is no reason to bet against them in spread markets.
They are only an 11-win team, but they’re 23-23 ATS, which is much better than the Bucks. Despite winning just 23% of their games, they like to keep it close and that’s an asset for bettors.
Identifying when the Pistons will keep it close is the key and it typically comes when playing out of their division.
It’s tough to get too excited about betting on the Pistons, but with Cade Cunningham in the squad, there is a glimmer of hope.