The 2015-16 NBA season is fast approaching and we have been sifting through the stats, assessing the draft and collating all the information we need to make some solid predictions before it all starts on the 27th October. Here we focus our attention on the Southwest Division as we bring you live betting odds and our tips for what will transpire in the outright winner betting.

The San Antonio Spurs have been the dominant force in the Southwest Division since its inception in the 2004-05 season. The Spurs have won the division seven times in 11 seasons, including in four of the last five campaigns. They are the odds-on favourites with the bookies to recover from their relative failure of a third place finish in the division to finish top this season, priced at best betting odds of 5/6 with William Hill. We think that is far too short, however, and we predict the Spurs’ dominance in the division has come to an end, with the Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies both looking better equipped (and better value) to challenge for top spot.

Interestingly every team in the Southwest Division earned a place in the playoffs last term, which is indicative of the competitive nature of the division with even the bottom-placed New Orleans Pelicans having won 45 games (compared to 16 wins for the Minnesota Timberwolves and 21 for the LA Lakers, the bottom sides in the Northwest and Pacific Divisions). The Houston Rockets finished at the top of the division with a 56-26 record, the second best in the Western Conference behind the eventual NBA champions the Golden State Warriors. Houston are priced at best betting odds of 13/5 with Bet365 to finish top of the pile in this division and we feel this offers very good value to the punter who is not tempted by the short price on the Spurs.

Houston snapped up the highly rated Sam Dekkar with the 18th pick in the draft, and with a 13.9 points per game statistic behind him from last season at Wisconsin, it could prove a very shrewd move. The addition of another power forward, Montrezl Harrell, in the second round of the draft is not quite so eye-catching, but the former University of Louisville player could prove valuable in time. Despite not having too many standout players, with James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Donatas Motiejunas having scored over 3,000 points and made over 1,000 defensive rebounds between then last season, the Rockets have every chance of going far this term.

The Memphis Grizzlies weren’t far behind the Rockets last season, ending with a 55-27 record and the best record (9-7) within the division. Betting odds of 13/2 with Bet365 for them to go one better this year and finish top of the pile are likely to tempt some people, and they are certainly worth considering. Three players – Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph – each scored over 1,000 points last season, and if they can manage that again, the Grizzlies have a fair chance of finishing top.

We predict, however, that the Rockets will be the team to beat in the Southwest Division this season, and as the Spurs fail to live up to their outstanding reputation we believe it will be the Rockets flying high to the top of the pile, so grab the betting odds of 13/5 with Bet365 on Houston today.

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