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NBA Southwest Division Futures: Rockets Taking Off At Right Time

NBA Southwest Betting Odds January 4 2019

The NBA’s Southwest Division has some intriguing candidates to win the divisional crown but one team stands above all and that’s the Houston Rockets.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Rockets as -240 favorites to win the Southwest Division, followed by the San Antonio Spurs at +620, the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans at +900 and the Dallas Mavericks at +1250.

Let’s break down the odds for each contender and identify the best value:

Houston Rockets -240

What a tear James Harden is on right now. Playing arguably the best basketball of his career, the southpaw broke the record for most consecutive games with at least five three-pointers and all of that WITHOUT Chris Paul in the lineup. The Beard has shown that he can single-handedly carry a team to the playoffs and while they only have a one-game lead over the Spurs, the Rockets’ talent level is undeniable. Houston has won 11 of its last 12 games and will be getting Paul and Eric Gordon back in the lineup soon. While I would never usually recommend such a large favorite, the Rockets look like a team on a mission after falling short in the Western Conference final last year.

San Antonio Spurs +620

The team with the best value for this prop, the Spurs are another team on the rise and have been deadly at home. San Antonio is 11-3 SU in the last 14 games and the Spurs have gotten back to being dominant at AT&T Center by winning 10 of their last 11 at home. Only being one game back of the Rockets for the division lead should put them closer to +350, so oddsmakers must not be buying this recent resurgence. If you don’t want to bet on the favorite, this is where I’d lay my money.

Memphis Grizzlies +900

Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Outside of that, there’s not much else to write home about for this team and oddsmakers think so too. At 18-19 SU through 37 games, I had picked the Grizz to make the playoffs but never would consider them to win a division with arguably four better teams. Their defense is what keeps this team in games because they rank second in points allowed but fall all the way to 29th in points scored. That’s a recipe for disaster and it will likely implode sooner rather than later so I’m fading Memphis.

New Orleans Pelicans +900

I used to think Anthony Davis was the best player in this division but considering how James Harden has played this season, he might have gotten bumped. The reason why that is significant is because much like the Grizzlies, the Pelicans are a two-man show. Outside of Davis and Jrue Holiday, this team has depth issues but unlike the Grizzlies, they’re great at offense but horrible defensively, ranking second in points scored but 26th in points allowed. I’d rather invest in the Spurs than the Pelicans at this stage.

Dallas Mavericks +1250

The leading candidate for the NBA’s League Pass Team of the Year, the Mavericks are a joy to watch with Luka Doncic on the floor. The Mavericks are 15-3 SU in 18 home games but an ugly 3-16 SU in 19 road games and have only beaten one Western Conference team on the road this year. Despite only being four games back of the Rockets, there is no way they can win this division if they don’t at least finish at a .500 level on the road. Only one team with a losing record on the road ended up winning its division last season (Miami Heat) so at +1250, you’re banking on the Mavs to overcome that obstacle. No thanks!

2018-19 NBA Southwest Division Odds
Houston Rockets-240
San Antonio Spurs+620
Memphis Grizzlies+900
New Orleans Pelicans+900
Dallas Mavericks+1250

Odds as of January 4 at Bovada

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Most of the teams in the NBA’s Southwest Division made some offseason moves (for better or worse), which means there could be some value in backing other teams outside of the odds-on divisional favorite, the Houston Rockets.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Rockets at -450 to win the division followed by the San Antonio Spurs at +600, New Orleans Pelicans at +760, Dallas Mavericks at +6000 and Memphis Grizzlies at +6500.

Here is a betting breakdown of each team’s chances to win the division:

Houston Rockets

Odds at -450

On paper, the Rockets are still the best team in the division and the second-best team in the Western Conference. The Rockets won 65 games for the best record in the NBA last season and the addition of Carmelo Anthony at the expense of swingman Trevor Ariza shouldn’t be a huge issue during the regular season (playoffs are a different story).

Where they end up romping over teams is on the perimeter as Mike D’Antoni employs his “3 or Layup” offense that leads to Houston leading the NBA in three-point attempts by almost nine more a game than the next-closest team. It’s not very fun to wager on a -450 prop but if you’ve got deep pockets, you can’t go wrong with the Rockets.

San Antonio Spurs

Odds at +600

The new-look Spurs are sure to turn some heads when opponents see DeMar DeRozan trotting down the court. San Antonio has moved on from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, with the only holdover from their most recent championship being Patty Mills.

This team was kind of a mess last season with all of the Kawhi Leonard drama hanging over the Spurs but they still won 47 games with their best player missing all but nine of them. No other team other than Houston has won this division since 2010 so if you were seriously considering betting on a team to top the Rockets, this may be the team to do it.

New Orleans Pelicans

Odds at +760

With all due respect to Anthony Davis’s greatness, this squad doesn’t have the pieces to win this division. The Pellies made a couple of moves to acquire Julius Randle and Jahlil Okafor but the frontcourt hasn’t been their issue.

For starters, neither of those players is known for his defensive exploits and outside of Jrue Holiday, this team is incredibly weak in the backcourt. The Pelicans ranked third in points per game last season but ranked a woeful 29th in points allowed per game and they can’t expect Davis to continue to play like Wilt Chamberlain. I think this team finishes outside of the playoffs so I won’t be picking them to win the division.

Dallas Mavericks

Odds at +6000

If I had to choose a sleeper pick, Dallas would be it. The Mavericks had arguably one of the best offseasons as they traded up to acquire Luka Doncic in the draft and then fleeced the Clippers to get all-star center DeAndre Jordan. Finally resembling a team that can compete, the Mavs should be on everyone’s radar coming into the season as they have no incentive to tank again due to the Hawks getting their first-round pick in 2019.

Not much is known for how Doncic’s game will translate to the NBA but his winning pedigree cannot be overlooked as the 19-year-old has done nothing but win in his young career. Prior to the draft, he won the championship and MVP award in what is considered the second-best basketball league in the world and should be able to use his skills in the pick-and-roll to help a Mavericks squad that only averaged 102.3 points per game last season (ranked 28th). At +6000, Dallas should be a team on the rise.

Memphis Grizzlies

Odds at +6500

Don’t get me wrong, I like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol but their injury history is too terrifying to feel comfortable wagering on the Grizzlies. Conley missed 70 games last season (110 over the last three seasons) while Gasol has missed 47 over his last two seasons. When they’re on the floor, they can be a dynamic pairing as evidenced when they went to the playoffs for five straight seasons before last year’s flop. Considering Memphis has never won the division in the franchise’s history and its two stars are made of glass, feel free to move on from this one.

2018-19 NBA Southwest Division Odds
Houston Rockets-110
San Antonio Spurs+110
New Orleans Pelicans+2000
Dallas Mavericks+3300
Memphis Grizzlies+5000

Odds as of September 13 at Bovada