The Memphis Grizzlies are once again in the Western Conference’s play-in tournament. This time around, they’ll be hosting the San Antonio Spurs at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night as the first of three Western Conference play-in fixtures. While the Grizzlies seemed to be fighting tooth and nail to make it into the play-in tourney, it seemed as though the Spurs could not have been more indifferent.
Free Picks: Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs
Grizzlies Look To Conquer Play-In With Win Over Spurs (Regular Season Betting Record: 98-107)
The San Antonio Spurs enter this play-in clash riding a rough four-game losing streak, which is not exactly what you’d call ‘getting hot at the right time.’ In fact, you’d call it the exact opposite, as the Spurs have also dropped 10 of their past 12 games. They’re not just chilly, they’re ice cold like the frozen tundra right now.
Considering their current roster makeup, the Spurs could use an influx of young talent, so making it into the actual playoff tournament proper this season might not be a main priority for the franchise’s brass. The king and possible originator of the load management strategy, Gregg Popovich, has at least shown some pride in trotting out his top guys each and every night nonetheless.
They have not been cutting it lately, however, which is why we like reigning Rookie of the Year Ja Morant and his squad to get over the hump and into the eighth place game later this week as our NBA pick here. The Grizzlies had the eighth seed all but locked up last season before they got to the bubble. They completely faltered in Orlando, and then dropped the first-ever NBA play-in game to the Portland Trail Blazers to miss the playoffs entirely.
As the only team in NBA history to miss out on the playoffs by way of a play-in game, the Grizzlies will definitely have those shortcomings top of mind heading into this Wednesday night matchup. He’s no Pop, but Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins is a solid bench boss, and he’s built a great culture with the young talent they have over there in Tennessee.
After dropping the first matchup of the season against the Spurs by 12 in late December, the Grizzlies came back at the end of January and early February with back-to-back dominant wins against San Antonio, one by 17 and the other by 31. Clearly, the Grizzlies know how to dismantle this team, it’s all a matter of whether or not they can execute in crucial moments on Wednesday night.
The youth of the Grizzlies is a tad worrisome since they are coming into this one as the favorites, but Morant has the makings of a real superstar, and I doubt he allows a team as low on quality as the Spurs—they finished a full five games behind the Grizzlies in the standings, finishing closer to 11th than to 9th—to end his NBA playoff dreams early once again.
Last year, Morant poured in 35 points in a losing effort against the Blazers in the play-in, but he also shot under 50 percent and had a whopping eight turnovers. A stinker like that is more than enough incentive for a competitor like Morant to come back much stronger and, most importantly, more efficient.
We also really like the frontcourt advantage that we believe Memphis will benefit from with the twin towers of Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr. Dejounte Murray is a very long and solid on ball defender, so Morant will have to be on point with his pick and roll decisions, relying on his bigs more often than not.
For our best bet for today on this clash, we’re going to go with an NBA point spread play for the Grizzlies who, in stark contrast to their Wednesday night opponent, come in having won five of their past six games. We’re going with a -3.5 point spread for Memphis at decent -111 NBA odds as our top pick for this matchup.
- Memphis went 5-2 ATS when playing with 2+ days of rest this season
- San Antonio went 18-23-1 ATS against the Western Conference this season
- San Antonio is 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games as an underdog against the West
- Memphis has gone 26-16 ATS when playing on equal rest this season
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.