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Is there Value in Betting the Spurs to Win the Southwest?

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in NBA Basketball

Updated Apr 1, 2020 · 8:12 AM PDT

DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan's hot start to the season has him approaching the MVP conversation. Photo by lam_chihang (flickr) [CC License].
  • Sportsbooks have narrowed the gap between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets in terms of who will win the NBA Southwest
  • The Spurs won six division titles between 2010-17
  • Last season was the first time since 1998-99 that the Spurs didn’t win at least 50 games

The San Antonio Spurs are like that warm, comfortable pair of slippers you keep next to the bed. They’re always there for you. You can count on them. But should you count on them to win the NBA Southwest Division title this season?

The Spurs currently top the division with a 6-3 record, while the defending division-winning Houston Rockets are off to a disappointing 4-5 start to the season. That’s led sportsbooks to narrow the odds on the difference between the two teams winning the division.

Odds of Winning the Southwest Division in 2018-19

Team Odds of Winning the Southwest Division
Houston Rockets -280
San Antonio Spurs +450
New Orleans Pelicans +600
Memphis Grizzlies +4000
Dallas Mavericks +5000

The Rockets remain the prohibitive favorites, but the Spurs have closed the gap.

The Eyes of Texas are Upon Them

There are few NBA success stories that are as long-running as the Spurs. Going all the way back to the 1994-95 season, they’ve never gone more than two seasons without winning a division title.

San Antonio’s tremendous run of good fortune includes 15 division crowns and five NBA titles. And the Spurs have finished lower than second in the division just three times since 1994-95. There’s only been six occasions in that span where they didn’t win a playoff series.

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Since the beginning of the 1997-98 season – Tim Duncan’s rookie year – the Spurs have had a losing record for only 48 days of the last 20-plus years.

Their bold move to trade all-stars in the offseason, sending Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for guard DeMar DeRozan, is paying early dividends. But will it last?

Can the Spurs Rocket Past Houston?

DeRozan is averaging 27.3 points per game, good for seventh in the league. And his 6.7 assists per game put him 13th in the NBA.

The Spurs’ defense has all but evaporated in their three losses.

Amidst their promising start, there are some cracks in San Antonio’s armor. The Spurs’ defense has all but evaporated in their three losses – a 117-110 setback to the Orlando Magic and double-digit losses to Portland (121-108) and Indiana (116-96). San Antonio fell to Portland on the road, but the 20-point setback to Indiana came at the AT&T Center.

That’s another worry. The Spurs have fashioned their fast start in the standings on home court, winning four times at AT&T Center. They’ve only played three road games so far.

San Antonio Spurs vs Houston Rockets

San Antonio Spurs
Houston Rockets
6-3 Record 4-5
113.4 (10) Points per game 105.3 (26)
111.4 (17) Points allowed per game 110.1 (12)
45.3 (14) Rebounds per game 41.9 (25)
46.2 (12) Field goal percentage 42.5 (30)

Can the Spurs measure up against the Rockets? We’ll get an early assessment of that on Saturday, when the two teams meet in San Antonio.

Probably a wise decision to wait and see that outcome before investing in any Spurs futures. 

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