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2013 NBA Betting – Central Division Preview

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/11/2014 2:05:38 AM

When people in the basketball betting community examine the 2013 NBA season, they will be drawn to two of the six divisions in particular: the Southwest (in the Western Conference) and the Central (in the Eastern Conference). The Southwest Division has the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and the Memphis Grizzlies in the same small grouping of teams. The Central Division has the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and three teams that could all get one of the final few playoff spots in the East this season. Indiana and Chicago will beat each other up as they contend for the NBA title and a chance to knock off the Miami Heat, but the trio of the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and Cleveland Cavaliers could quite possibly make the playoffs in its entirety.

Let’s emphasize that last point: Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland – put together – might not get just one of the final three playoff spots in the East (behind Miami, Chicago, Indiana, New York, and Brooklyn). The Bucks, Pistons and Cavaliers could fill out the sixth through eighth playoff spots in the conference. If this triumvirate beats out Atlanta, Washington and Boston, the Central could have five playoff teams this season, which would be one very impressive feat.
What do the Bucks, Pistons and Cavs need to do to make the playoffs? They will need their competitors to struggle, but most of all, they need health. Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings will miss a few weeks at the start of the season, putting a crimp in the Pistons’ plans. Cleveland has no idea when Andrew Bynum is going to play this season. The Cavaliers didn’t break the bank in signing Bynum; they wisely loaded up his contract with a lot of incentives connected to playing time. Yet, the point remains that Cleveland depended on Bynum as its answer in the paint. Cleveland has been thin at the center position in recent seasons, and it ignored big men in the draft to go after Bynum on the open market. If Bynum doesn’t play, Cleveland takes a big hit.

As for the clash between Indiana and Chicago at the top of the division, basketball fans should be in for a treat. The Pacers signed Luis Scola to get another savvy and well-rounded power forward who can do so many things on the floor. Scola, when paired with David West, would give Indiana a big lineup that can move the ball and keep defenses off balance. Scola and West will be able to save each other a lot of minutes during the season; they won’t be on the floor in a big lineup on most occasions, but the thought of a lineup with West, Scola and Roy Hibbert is not out of the question – not in certain situations, at any rate. The Pacers are deep, and they have a good mixture of youth and experience on their roster. They’re going to be very tough to beat.

Chicago, of course, will be a lot better simply because Derrick Rose is back on the floor. If Rose is anything (or anywhere) close to his old self, the Bulls become an instant championship contender precisely because Rose can open up the floor and create so many opportunities for his teammates. Rose’s health and durability, though, remain issues, so for now, Indiana is the choice in this part of the NBA world.

NBA Betting Pick: Indiana to win the Central Division

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