The 76ers and Grizzlies find themselves in very different positions at this point in the season. What will happen on the NBA betting lines when these opposites meet on Saturday night?
The Philadelphia 76ers Can Win Because…
They’re getting better. The Sixers, in early December, were viewed around the NBA as a team that was going to have a tough time winning nine games over the course of the full season. The Sixers lost each of their first 16 games and were so bad that the 9-73 record of the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers seemed to be reachable. That’s obviously not the kind of thing a team wants to reach for, but the Sixers appeared likely to be nip-and-tuck with their 1973 predecessors at the bottom of the trash heap in NBA history.
Then, however, this team started to play well. For most teams, a 4-6 record in the past 10 games would not be cause for celebration, but for Philadelphia, it really is. The Sixers have done damage control by playing tolerable defense – not great, but not horrible. The Sixers allow an average of 102.6 points per game. That’s not great, but it’s better than six other NBA teams. Philadelphia also has a better road record (5-17) than a home record (3-17). Playing in front of home fans seems to make this team embarrassed and a little more pressured. The Sixers relax slightly more when they’re on the road, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should consider them when reviewing the NBA odds.
The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They are far better than Philadelphia. The comparisons across the board simply do not favor the Sixers at any point. The Sixers have a negative point differential of minus-12.6 points. Memphis has a plus-3.8 differential. The Grizzlies are 17-5 at home, the inverse of Philly’s 5-17 road mark. Memphis scores an average of 11.4 points more than Philadelphia (101.5 to 90.1). The Grizzlies allow only 97.7 points per game compared to the Sixers’ total of 102.6. Memphis is 6-4 in its last 10 compared to Philadelphia’s 4-6. Memphis also has strong recent results to point to, chiefly a win over the Toronto Raptors, the third-place team in the Eastern Conference. The Grizzlies typically win with their defense, but they scored 32 in the fourth quarter to outlast Toronto, showing the diversity that can enable them to go deep into the playoffs. The Sixers have also lost three games in a row, once again showing the vulnerability that has marked most of their season, despite their improvement over the past month. There are still limits to how high Philadelphia can climb.
The Grizzlies and Sixers remain two very different teams, with the Grizzlies playing clearly better defense and far better offense. Playing at home, Memphis really should not have much of a problem against Philadelphia. Take the Grizz with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Memphis -17 at Bodog