Southwest Division | Odds, Tips & Picks - Updated 30th March 2023

By Andrew D

March 30, 2023

Last updated: 30th March 2023

Current betting odds:

Memphis Grizzlies \\
Dallas Mavericks \\
New Orleans Pelicans \\
San Antonio Spurs \\
Houston Rockets \\

Current standings

TeamRecordWin %Streak
Memphis Grizzlies48-2764.07 wins
New Orleans Pelicans38-3850.01 loss
Dallas Mavericks37-3948.71 win
San Antonio Spurs19-5625.34 losses
Houston Rockets 18-5823.76 losses

Here we have a breakdown of all the teams in the running to win the NBA's Atlantic Division in the 2022/’23 NBA season. The winners will be awarded the Willis Reed Trophy

At The Jump Hub, we have assessed their chances as we see them and will update this article regularly to see if we were right. We will post statistical updates and any breaking news or results as they come up.

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*See foot of article for the key to terms used

General update: 30th Mar 2023

With a truly impressive final effort and 7 back-to-back wins, the Memphis Grizzlies have clinched the Southwest Division and their place in the NBA Playoffs. With a 14% difference in winning percentage (PCT) between them and their nearest challengers in the division, only the Northwest Division sees a greater distance between the first and second-placed teams.

They did this with the help of some serious power runs in the regular season, including:

  • 7-game winning streak (x2)

  • 11-game winning streak

Apart from a rough period in late January/early February when they went 1-8, the Grizzlies have been the epitome of solid consistency this season. With a record of 33-5, they are the most reliable team on their home court in the whole NBA.

Currently 10-1 in their last 11 games, they have 7 games left to play:

  • Clippers (x2), Bulls, Trailblazers, Pelicans, Bucks, and Thunder

It would be hard to blame them if we saw a dip in form as they ease up and try to stay for a long playoff run but the Grizzlies don't strike us as the kind of team that likes to take it too easy...

The 2nd-placed team are now the New Orleans Pelicans after an impressive run of their own to pass the Dallas Mavericks. The Pelicans should be safely into the post-season with that final surge but it is still far from decided as they still have to face:

  • The Nuggets, Clippers, Kings, Grizzlies, Knickerbockers, and Timberwolves

Not an enviable finish for any team. The Pelican's saving grace might come from the fact that they are 24-13 at home and 4 of those final 6 games are at their home arena.

Dallas sit on the cusp of an NBA Playoff series berth with an identical winning% to Oklahoma. They really needn't have found themselves in this position but have had a torrid time since around mid-February.

They are 6-13 in their last 19 games since then

And they have nothing but a hard task to look forward to, as they now face:

  • 76ers, Heat, Hawks (Go Hawks!), Kings, Bulls, and Spurs

3 of those games are at home, 3 on-the-road. Apart from the shambolic, embarrassing Spurs who would rather lose every game in front of their loyal fans just to gain some advantage in the future, that is not an easy coast to the finish line for Dallas by any means. They have to do some serious soul-searching and hope that the wheels fall off for Oklahoma who are 9-5 over their last 14 games and have a slightly easier final few games. But not by much.

General update: 15th Mar 2023

With the shameful San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets out of the running, and out of integrity and professional pride in their game, it comes down to the Grizzlies the Mavericks and the Pelicans in the NBA Southwest Division.

It's virtually impossible that anyone will catch Memphis, hence their betting odds drop even further to @ 1.01

General update: 2nd Feb 2023
  • With a quite extraordinarily awful run of 9 losses, the New Orleans Pelicans have been usurped for 2nd place in the Southwest Division by the Dallas Mavericks

  • The Pelicans have also dropped from 5th to 10th in the Westen Conference

A few words on the scourge of deliberate tanking

Before we go any further, it saddens us to have to address the elephant in the room. Deliberate tanking is easily our least favourite aspect of the NBA and one that we wish we didn't have to think about. For those of you unaware of what it means, to put it very briefly, the way that the NBA is structured means that the worst-performing teams have a better chance of picking the best players in the following season's NBA Draft.

Sadly, we live in a cynical world where blatant cheating is tolerated and often even encouraged. If it cannot be proven and will result in an advantage then some teams clearly feel that it is worth the loss of integrity and dignity. That it is worth snubbing their nose to their own fans and admitting that they are too shitty to achieve anything without cheating. That they would rather field weakened sides and lose on purpose than accept the task ahead of them and get those same noses to the grindstone instead. Even with the, clearly inadequate measures that the NBA introduced and the new lottery system that makes it harder to guarantee an advantage, it still exists.

It is too complicated and depressing for us to try and figure out which teams are engaged in this lowest-of-the-low behaviour. It should be pretty obvious. We'll mention it for sure if it's beyond question. But, otherwise, we have decided to write these articles as though tanking didn't exist. As though we live in a world where winning through hard work and dedication is the only goal.

Pleasing the fans and doing your absolute best to represent them with honour at all times should be a given. Tanking is for scumbags and suckers. We hope franchises that deliberately set out to lose games wither and turn to dust.

However, for the purposes of these articles, we will assess the teams in front of us on their merits and pretend that there is still some integrity in professional sports.

Willis Reed Trophy

General update: 16th Jan 2023
  • Memphis remain the favourites to take the Southwest Division in what is, effectively, a 3-team race

  • Star-performer Ja Morant is doubtful for the Grizzlies in their next home game against the Phoenix Suns

  • Their closest challengers for the Division, the New Orleans Pelicans travel to Cleveland. A tough matchup for them against the current 2nd best team in the Central Division

NBA Memphis Grizzlies Team Logo

Memphis Grizzlies \\

NBA Southwest Division betting odds progression:

@ 2.05 @ 2.45 — @ 1.26 @ 1.40 — @ 1.33 — @ 1.17 — @ 1.11

Jul 29th — Nov 22nd — Jan 6th — Jan 10th — Jan 11th/17th — Jan 18th — Jan 25th

@ 1.08 — @ 1.22 — @ 1.07 — @ 1.01 \\

Jan 28th — Feb 14th/17th — Feb 27th —Mar 15th

NBA Western Conference betting odds: @ 7.00

NBA Championship betting odds: @ 13.00

  • Record: 48-27

  • Streak: 7 wins

  • 33-5 at home

  • 15-22 on the road

Current table positions:

  • Southwest Division: 1st

  • Western Conference: 2nd

  • NBA: 5th

Update: 28th Jan 2023

So much for that winning streak. It went to 11 games in the end. But now Memphis are now on the end of 4 straight losses. That will soon be 5 unless they can turn things around against Minnesota in the 4th quarter.

  • 20-3 at home

  • 11-15 on the road

They are almost invincible on their home turf but totally out of their depth on the road a lot of the time. It cannot be a mere coincidence that all of the 4 losses in this streak have been on the road. As will number 5 be if it comes to that...

Update: 16th Jan 2023

Memphis are currently rocking the Southwestern to its foundations.

  • 20-13 and currently on a 9-game winning streak

Points and assist-machine Ja Morant looks to be out for Tuesday's game against Phoenix.

  • Ja Morant

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 35 \ GS: 35 \ MP: 32.2 \ PTS: 27.4 \ FG%: 46.6 \ 3P%: 31.3 \ FT%: 75.1 \ TRB: 5.8 \ AST: 7.9 \ STL: 1.0 \ BLK: 0.3 \ TOV: 3.6 \ PF: 1.7

A struggling Suns side might still not have enough to overcome the rampant Grizzles but they will surely miss Morant's per-game contributions of:

  • 27 points (11th in NBA) He has scored 93 across his last 3 games alone.

  • 7.9 assists (5th in NBA) 10 in his last game

  • 5.8 rebounds

Although they can probably live without his 3.6 turnovers (7th in NBA)

Memphis look strong with 6 players making double-digit points and an impressive number of assists from:

  • Steven Adams

And some all-round superb performances from:

  • Jaren Jackson Jr.

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 26 \ GS: 26 \ MP: 26.1 \ PTS: 16.5 \ FG%: 52.0 \ 3P%: 37.5 \ FT%: 76.6 \ TRB: 6.8 \ AST: 1.0 \ STL: 1.0 \ BLK: 3.2 \ TOV: 1.5 \ PF: 3.1

A particularly impressive:

  • 3.2 blocks

The Memphis Grizzlies undoubtedly look to be the real deal this season. Our only real concern for them in terms of going 'all the way' is that they might lack a little depth. Sure, 7.9 assists from Morant are great.

But their next best provider, Tyus Jones, only gives 4.8. After that, Desmond Bane provides 3.9 and that's kind of it...

  • Take Morant out of the equation, as he has been right now, and it's a little harder to see where the playmaking is going to come from.

Memphis are scoring an average of 117.1 points per game. Easily the highest number since joining the NBA in 1995/'96 as the Vancouver Grizzlies. They are also putting in a lot of hard work defensively and taking more defensive rebounds than in their history with 36.0 per game. The future looks bright but we are worried about playmaking...

In the Southwestern Division they have:

  • (+) Most attempts at field goals (92.7)

  • (+) Most field goals (43.8)

  • (-) Worst field goal conversion rate (47.2%)

  • (+) Least fouls (19.8)

  • (-) Worst free-throw conversion rate (71.1%)

  • (+) Most rebounds (49.1) This is actually the highest of any team in the NBA

  • (+) Most blocks. Also applies to the whole NBA

Basically, they're all over the place...

NBA New Orleans Pelicans Team Logo

New Orleans Pelicans \\

NBA Southwest Division betting odds progression:

@ 4.20 — @ 2.00 — @ 4.20 — @ 4.50 — @ 6.00 — @ 6.50

Oct 19th — Dec 12th — Jan 6th/10th — Jan 11th/17th — Jan 18th — Jan 25th

— @ 8.00 — @ 9.00 — @ 18.00 — @ 36.00 — @ 201.00 \\

Jan 28th/30th — Feb 2nd — Feb 14th/17th — Feb 27th — Mar 15th

NBA Western Conference betting odds: @ 81.00

NBA Championship betting odds: @ 276.00

  • Record: 38-38

  • Streak: 1 loss

  • 24-13 at home

  • 14-25 on the road

Current table positions:

  • Southwest Division: 2nd

  • Western Conference: 8th

  • NBA: 16th

Update: 16th Jan 2023

It's no great surprise to see the New Orleans Pelican's NBA Southwestern Division betting odds lengthen to @ 4.50. They are 3-5 in their last 8 games after being 12-4 in the 16 games before that.

Still, they are holding on to 3rd in the Western and 8th in the NBA at the time of writing, so all is not yet lost. They have 3 players getting 20+ points per game and 7 in double figures.

It's a real shame to see an injury to:

  • Zion Williamson

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 29 \ GS: 29 \ MP: 33.0 \ PTS: 26.0 \ FG%: 60.8 \ 3P%: 36.8 \ FT%: 71.4 \ TRB: 7.0 \ AST: 4.6 \ STL: 1.1 \ BLK: 0.6 \ TOV: 3.4 \ PF: 2.2

A 60.8% conversion rate for field goals is among the best, in fact, it puts him 10th in the whole NBA right now.

He gives way too many turnovers for a player who averages less than 30 mins on the court but was otherwise in excellent form before pulling his hamstring. He is due for evaluation in less than 3 weeks so we are keeping an eye on the situation. As we said, the Pelicans are not short of players who can score points. But their next best player at converting chances is Jonas Valanciunas with 53.3%

We hate to harp on about this, but here we have another team that sees a huge dropoff in assists after the 3 best players are accounted for. And when it comes to the Pelicans, those 3 aren't even that hot. They are decidedly lukewarm if the truth be told.

  • CJ McCollum is the best of the bunch with 5.9 per game.

That puts him 23rd in the NBA for assists. But for a team in 8th position, that surely can not last.

  • Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson provide just less than 5 assists each

And then there is a significant dropoff. One that cannot fail to cause problems if at least 2 of those 3 players are fit and getting regular minutes. And that's a problem, because Ingram is out with a toe injury and, as we mentioned above, Williamson is also out of contention. That puts an awful lot of pressure on the shoulders of that leading assist-provider:

  • CJ McCollum

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 38 \ GS: 38 \ MP: 35.2 \ PTS: 21.2 \ FG%: 43.5 \ 3P%: 40.3 \ FT%: 78.5 \ TRB: 4.7 \ AST: 5.9 \ STL: 1.0 \ BLK: 0.6 \ TOV: 2.6 \ PF: 1.7

So far he's stepping up and gave 9 assists in New Orleans' last game against the Detroit Pistons. But those came at the expense of his own scoring and he dropped from a run of 26, 28, 28, 34, and 38 points respectively in the preceding games, down to 19 in that game. Still respectable but clearly a lot is being asked of the 9-year veteran from Ohio. He may well be the best active player never to be rewarded with an All-Star role but it's still a tough spot to find himself in.

The Pelicans are soaring above where they typically sit in terms of points scored per game. They are currently bagging 117.3 per game. Slightly more than the Southwestern Division leaders, the Grizzlies.

  • They are scoring almost 22 points more than their typical average of 95.8

Only the Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, and Utah Jazz are outscoring them right now.

Let's hope the wheels don't come off with the loss of those playmakers...

NBA Dallas Mavericks Team Logo

Dallas Mavericks \\

NBA Southwest Division betting odds progression:

@ 2.25 2.80 — @ 3.20 — @ 9.00 — @ 6.50 — @ 6.00 — @ 7.00

Jul 29th — Nov 5th — Dec 1st — Dec 18th — Jan 4th — Jan 6th/10th — Jan 11th

@ 6.50 — @ 9.50 — @ 15.00 — @ 4.33 — @ 6.50 — @ 21.00 \\

Jan 17th — Jan 18th — Jan 25th/Feb 2nd — Feb 14th/17th — Feb 27th — Mar 15th

NBA Western Conference betting odds: @ 17.00

NBA Championship betting odds: @ 41.00

  • Record: 37-39

  • Streak: 1 win

  • 22-16 at home

  • 15-23 on the road

Current table positions:

  • Southwest Division: 3rd

  • Western Conference: 11th

  • NBA: 20th

Update: 17th Jan 2023

It would be disrespectful to refer to Dallas as a 'one-man team' but it surely feels that way at times. That man is, of course:

  • Luka Dončić

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 40 \ GS:40 \ MP: 37.4 \ PTS: 33.8 \ FG%: 49.8* \ 3P%: 35.1 \ FT%: 73.0 \ TRB: 9.0 \ AST: 8.8* \ STL: 1.6* \ BLK: 0.6* \ TOV: 3.7 \ PF: 2.9*

*Career high

He leads the Mavericks in all basic stats except for

With his 8.8 assists per game, Dončić is close to being Dallas' only playmaker. We're not joking.

Spencer Dinwiddie gets closest with 5.2 and then there is a total collapse in options. 2.1 being the next highest number. Dinwiddie stepped up in their most recent game, a 140-123 loss to Portland, and gave 9 assists. He also scored 28 points of his own in that game and was capably backed up by Christian Wood who pulled down 16 rebounds.

Another issue we see with the Mavericks is that they have only 4 players who score double figures. The rest aren't even close. More worryingly for them, perhaps, is that:

  • 4 of their top 6 scoring players are currently out of contention with injuries

Wood and Dinwiddie will be the focus of the offense for now but their combined points per game are only just on par with Dončić alone. No matter how you slice it if you take away an average of 33.8 points from your team's score and have no way of replacing them then you are in trouble.

Kemba Walker looks like being needed as a backup part of their strike force for now. He averages 8 points per game. Not exactly game-changing stuff, but he has only played 16 minutes of each of his 9 games thus far. So there is clearly potential there but he has also given the ball away as a turnover 4.8 times per game in those same games. Hardly an exciting prospect to get the fans' mouths watering.

We're not saying that there's a crisis in Dallas. Not yet, But they might be teetering on the verge of one, You simply cannot have so much reliance on one player right across the board and hope that it will end well.

After being 8-1 from late December, the Mavericks are in a short run of 1-4 and with those roster losses...

it's tough to see how they will stop the rot...

NBA San Antonio Spurs Team Logo

San Antonio Spurs \\

NBA Southwest Division betting odds progression:

@ 501.00 @ 301.00 @ 1001.00 — @ 501.00 \\

Oct 19th — Nov 4th — Dec 25th — Jan 6th/Feb 27th

NBA Western Conference betting odds: @ 1001.00

NBA Championship betting odds: @ 501.00

  • Record: 19-56

  • Streak: 6 losses

  • 13-25 at home

  • 6-31 on the road

Current table positions:

  • Southwest Division: 4th

  • Western Conference: 14th

  • NBA: 28th

Update: 17th Jan 2023

A 5-2 start to the 2022/'23 season must have had pulses racing down in San Antonio. The ability to score decent points looked to be with them

But a horrendous early November loss ( 143-100 ) to the Toronto Raptors set off some kind of cataclysmic chain reaction in the Spurs camp.

They went 1-16 over their next 17 games

Some of them were close affairs. But not many. It is shocking to note that they lost those 16 games by a combined total of 297 points

I think we can all see where the problem lies...

There is positivity to be found here. Players like:

  • Keldon Johnson

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 38 \ GS:38 \ MP: 32.1* \ PTS: 21.1 \ FG%: 42.1 \ 3P%: 33.8 \ FT%: 77.2 \ TRB: 4.8 \ AST: 2.7* \ STL: 0.7 \ BLK: 0.2 \ TOV: 2.2* \ PF: 1.9

*Career high

It is a promising sign when a player is giving career-high performances in so many categories. So far Johnson is being backed up well offensively and the Spurs have 6 players scoring in double-figures.

But even when they got an excellent 129 points against Memphis, they were still outscored by 6 points. They have the worst points differential of any team in the NBA right now with:

  • -9.1

To put that in context, the team above them in the league if they wanted to progress are Orlando Magic and their differential is:

  • -3.8

The Spurs are just shipping too many points per game. Way more than any other team in the NBA. Over 2 more than the next worst team, the bottom-of-the-league Houston Rockets.

Their current run of 1-8 does not bode well for them moving up the league anytime soon but it just goes to show how competitive the league is these days. You can have rock-solid stats across the board and still find yourselves languishing near the foot of the table. Shore up those defences and, on paper, the San Antonio Spurs look like a decent team who should have a shot at a mid-table finish and maybe even scrape into the NBA Playoffs.

But the reality is a harsh one

There is simply no chance of that happening unless something radical happens down there in Texas.

NBA Houston Rockets Team Logo

Houston Rockets \\

NBA Southwest Division betting odds progression:

@ 501.00 @ 701.00 @ 801.00 — @ 1001.00 — @ 501.00 \\

Oct 19th — Oct 29th — Nov 11th — Dec 24th/Jan 4th — Jan 6th/Feb 27th

NBA Western Conference betting odds: @ 1001.00

NBA Championship betting odds: @ 501.00

  • Record: 18-58

  • Streak: 6 losses

  • 12-26 at home

  • 6-32 on the road

Current table positions:

  • Southwest Division: 5th

  • Western Conference: 15th

  • NBA: 30th

Update: 17th Jan 2023

Where to start with Houston?

They are currently on the wrong end of a 10-game losing streak. One that was separated from becoming a 16-game losing streak by one win.

Well, a good place to start would be with one of their best players, their highest scorer:

  • Jalen Green

2022/’23 averages per NBA game:

  • G: 42 \ GS:42 \ MP: 34.5 \ PTS: 21.5* \ FG%: 40.6 \ 3P%: 32.6 \ FT%: 79.3 \ TRB: 4.3* \ AST: 3.6* \ STL: 0.8* \ BLK: 0.2 \ TOV: 2.9* \ PF: 1.7*

*Career high

Some excellent numbers from Green and nobody can ask more of a player in his 2nd year in the NBA than that he make improvements and grow. With career highs in many areas, nobody can argue Green is not doing so.

But, here's the strange thing, he's not alone. Houston have 6 players getting decent minutes and scoring in double-figures. They're even snatching down a solid number of rebounds between them and have more playmaking assists than some other teams here.

So, why are they so bad?

Well, it doesn't help that they get the lowest number of points of any team in the Western Conference. And the 2nd lowest in the whole NBA. Add to that some leaky defending and things are only ever going one way in this league.

They're not the absolute worst offenders when it comes to allowing their opponents to score heavily. But they are certainly among the worst when it comes to responding with points of their own.

Nor are they worst at creating plays and opportunities for team members. We've already seen the issues that Dallas face and Houston are much more balanced than that in terms of assists. Nobody gets a world-beating amount but they have several players who can be relied upon to give acceptable numbers. It just goes to show how unforgiving the NBA is these days. On paper, you can have a team that looks competitive and ready to take down a few of the bigger teams.

And then, to put it in a brutally honest manner, they are annihilated by almost every team they come across.


Although turning the ball over more than any other team in the league can't be helping matters

  • 16.9 times per game

Does age make a difference?

Houston currently have an average player age of 22.5 years. That's the youngest lineup in the history of the franchise. It's also the youngest of any current NBA team.

Although youthful exuberance and athleticism are crucial elements of any successful NBA franchise, it is always a delicate balance. Experience is a very powerful thing in sports and it just may be that Houston are lacking some of it right now.

Here at The Jump Hub we love to make mistakes and talk a lot of nonsense at times.

Hit us up and give us your views:

Follow Andrew D on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDNBA

*Key to terms:

G: Games \ PTS: Points \ FG%: Field goal percentage \ 

3P%: 3-point percentage \ FT%: Free throw percentage \ 

TRB: Total rebounds \ AST: Assists \ STL: Steals \ BLK: Blocks \ 

TOV: Turnovers \ PF: Personal fouls \

Image Courtesy of Alamy

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