Bet the Total for Grizzlies vs. Pelicans

Jason Lake

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 11:50 AM GMT

Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014 11:50 AM GMT

What is this strange grip the New Orleans Pelicans have on the Memphis Grizzlies? The Pellies have beaten the NBA odds in all three of their meetings this year, and six of their last seven.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 10 inclusive:

79-61-1 ATS

21-19 Totals

Sometimes it just seems like the other guys have your number. The Memphis Grizzlies have faced the New Orleans Pelicans three times this season, and they’ve lost all three games, both straight up and against the NBA lines. All the injuries the Pelicans have suffered this year didn’t stop them from winning. And it didn’t seem to matter whether the Grizzlies were healthy or not, either.

So is this just a coincidence found in a very small sample size? Or do the Pelicans really have the right kryptonite to put away the Grizzlies one more time when they meet on Wednesday (8:00 p.m. ET)? The NBA betting lines have New Orleans getting three points at the Squishee King Center with a total of 189.5.

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Hurty Birds

Anything can happen in a three-game sample, but it’s still strange to see the Pelicans (26-37 SU, 27-32-4 ATS) holding sway over the Grizzlies (37-26 SU, 30-31-2 ATS) this year. All those Pelicans injuries have really put a damper on their season, dropping them to No. 27 in the league in defensive efficiency at 107.1 points allowed per 100 possessions. Memphis, meanwhile, is No. 10 on the defensive charts (102.3) as we go to press.

But things are different at the other end of the court. Throughout all this turmoil, New Orleans is still No. 11 in offensive efficiency (104.6), seven spots ahead of Memphis (102.9). And that’s despite the loss of Jrue Holiday (17.3 PER) and Ryan Anderson (19.0 PER) for the season. To get Holiday, the Pellies traded Nerlens Noel and a Top 5-protected 2014 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. They didn’t think that draft pick would be in the lottery.

Grizzly Fiendish

Let’s take a closer look at those three games and sort out which key players were missing for both teams.

Nov. 6: Pelicans 99, Grizzlies 84 (NO +7)

OUT: Anderson

Dec. 13: Grizzlies 98, Pelicans 104 (NO –2.5)

OUT: Davis, Marc Gasol

Jan. 20: Pelicans 95, Grizzlies 92 (NO +7.5)

OUT: Holiday, Anderson

The Grizzlies have had some injury issues of their own this year, but they had a full complement of players available in two of these three games. Gasol (17.5 PER) hasn’t been quite as dangerous as he was last year, thanks in large part to a sore knee that’s still causing him some problems at both ends of the floor. The one game he did miss, Davis (26.3 PER) also sat out for New Orleans, and the Pellies still won. Hmmmm.

Review Updated 2013-14 NBA Championship Betting Futures

These Turnovers are Highly Edible

Besides Memphis losing, there’s one common thread connecting all three of these games: Memphis committed more turnovers every time, and by wide margins: 18-13, 11-6, and 17-10. This is despite the two teams being tied in turnover rate at 13.0 percent, good for seventh in the NBA. The Pelicans only won the rebounding battle once against the Grizz, but the extra possessions created by all those turnovers was enough to make the difference.

Can New Orleans make it 4-0 this year? It helps that Memphis is playing on zero days of rest after beating the Portland Trail Blazers 109-99 on Tuesday, beating the NBA betting lines as a 2.5-point home chalk. But the Grizz are now 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six games, while the Pellies are on a more modest 3-0 SU and ATS streak. They can’t both win on Wednesday. So I’m going with the OVER, which is also 3-0 for New Orleans during this mini-run, and 10-1 in the last 11 games for Memphis. May the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Take OVER 189.5 at Bookmaker

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