This is one of the most fun divisions in the league. Filled with stars like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson, the Southwest Division has been pretty competitive despite preseason odds expecting the Houston Rockets to run away with the crown. Here is where the odds currently stand at DK Sportsbook:
Southwest Division odds
The Houston Rockets hold a modest 2.5-game lead in the Southwest over the Dallas Mavericks. They are committed to playing small ball and it seems to be working well. When Houston traded Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks at the trade deadline, eyebrows were raised. The Rockets were going ahead without any centers on their roster. So far, so good. Playing with shooters around Westbrook and Harden has helped to open up the floor and both are playing at an extremely high level.
Even though most people were high on the Dallas Mavericks entering the season, nobody expected them to compete with the Rockets at the top of the division. Despite the addition of Kristaps Porzinigis, it seemed like the Mavs were still not quite ready to take the next step. Instead, Luka Doncic has elevated himself into the MVP conversation, trailing just Giannis Antetokounmpo in the betting odds. Not only does Luka have the Mavericks as a surefire playoff team, there’s a real chance they overtake Houston in the division.
The New Orleans Pelicans aren’t going to factor into the divisional race, but they have to be mentioned because of the emergence of Zion Williamson. They have won eight of their last 11 games and are marching up the standings. As long as Zion stays healthy, this team is going to threaten to win the division for years to come with a core of him, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Looking ahead, I might favor them to win the division in a year with so much young talent.
Best bet to win: Houston Rockets (-200)
I like what the Rockets are doing with their small ball approach. Westbrook got off to a slow start this season and now his skills are being maximized in the Rockets’ system. Playing with floor spacing players, the paint is more open for him to get to the basket. This is the best we have seen Russ play since his MVP season and Houston has found a way to get the most out of him and Harden when they are on the court together. I like them to hold off Dallas and win the division.
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