Mavericks Take Lead in Southwest Division, But Rockets Still Heavy -210 Favorites

  • BetOnline’s updated odds still list the Rockets (-210) as the favorites to win the Southwest
  • Luka Doncic has made the Mavericks (+175) contenders for the division title
  • The Spurs (+1600) will start to rebuild while the fans of the Grizzlies (+25000) and Pelicans (+25000) dream of brighter days ahead

Entering Wednesday’s action, the Mavericks (18-8) are a half-game up on the Rockets (18-9) in the Southwest, but they will be without Luka Doncic for the next two weeks after the Slovenian stud turned his ankle against the Heat on Saturday.

Will the injury cost Dallas a chance to win its first division title in a decade or can Rick Carlyle’s crew battle down the hatches and survive the next couple weeks without their sophomore star?

Let’s check the latest odds at BetOnline and place our bets.

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION ODDS

Team Current Odds Trending Before Season
Houston Rockets -210 -275
Dallas Mavericks +175 +800
San Antonio Spurs +1600 +450
Memphis Grizzlies +25000 +10000
New Orleans Pelicans +25000 +1000

DALLAS MAVERICKS

Playing his way into MVP contention, Luka was averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game before going down. While you would expect the team to go in the tank, the Mavs have been surprisingly frisky without him in the lineup.

After Doncic sprained his ankle in the first quarter, Dallas battled hard in a 122-118 overtime-loss to Miami. They then went on to snap Milwaukee’s 18-game winning streak on Monday, as Kristaps Porzingis finally came alive with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

With the Celtics, 76ers and Raptors on the schedule over the next week, the Mavericks might lose a bit of ground, but here’s hoping the 20-year-old star is back for his rematch with LeBron on December 29.

In their first triple-double duel, James put up 39 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds against Doncic’s 31 points, 15 dimes and 13 boards in a 119-110 Lakers overtime victory.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

James Harden made NBA history last week, becoming the first player to record back-to-back 50-point games with more than ten 3-pointers in each contest.

Fans have come to expect these types of performances from the two-time league scoring champion, yet the Beard knows he’ll never be afforded any respect until he wins a championship.

Harden was vocal about being overlooked for NBA MVP last season and, earlier this week, told USA Today that critics are “belittling what he is doing.”

What he’s doing is considerable: Harden’s 39.9 points per game average has only been topped by Wilt Chamberlain (four times) and Elgin Baylor (once) throughout history and is the highest since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 PPG in 1986-87.

Still, the Rockets obviously don’t play the same team-game as the Mavericks and will struggle to pull away in the division. Expect the Southwest to stay tight despite Doncic’s injury and avoid paying -210 on Houston, making the Mavs a good value play right now.

THE REST OF THE DIVISION

The Spurs are set to miss the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons, paying off my +170 preseason bet handsomely. After a 10-16 start to the year, Woj is reporting that San Antonio may soon begin to tear things down and rebuild.

Meanwhile, both Memphis and New Orleans are already looking to the future. At 6-22, the Pelicans still await the return of Zion Williamson, who only recently started “full weight-bearing” exercises in his rehab from knee surgery.

Slightly better at 10-17, the Grizzlies have at least enjoyed a front-row seat to the daring exploits of No. 2-overall-pick Ja Morant. Driving to the hole with reckless abandon, the 20-year-old guard is averaging 18.8 points and 6.5 assists per game.

Maybe just maybe, one of these two squads will be back in the division mix next season.

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.