Free NBA Picks: Watered Down Roster To Keep Scores Low in Spurs vs. Grizzlies

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 28, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 28, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

It's a pretty meaningless game Monday night for San Antonio as it visits Memphis in the final regular-season matchup between the teams. The Spurs aren't going to be close to full strength but are -7 on NBA odds with a total of 193.

Spurs Are In Rest Mode
San Antonio (61-12) remains second in the Western Conference, five games behind record-setting Golden State. And it appears that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has officially waived the white flag on catching the Warriors -- and the Spurs aren't going to slip lower than No. 2 in the West. Popovich has started resting his guys. Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all took Saturday night's game in Oklahoma City off and the Spurs were predictably throttled 111-92. David West and Jonathon Simmons each scored 17 points for the Spurs. Jonathon Simmons? San Antonio's five starters entered that game combined having only 13 starts this season. It was San Antonio's first loss this season in the second of a back-to-back.

It's expected that Aldridge will play here. Leonard actually does have a minor injury, a quad, so he might sit again. Parker, Duncan and Ginobili are out again. Those latter three didn't even make the trip. I'm presuming Popovich generally won't sit his guys in home games if they are healthy as he doesn't want to punish the home fans who support this team so well. The Spurs have four at home left as they look to finish unbeaten there (as Golden State could do). Those are Wednesday vs. New Orleans, Saturday vs. Toronto, April 10 against Golden State and April 12 vs. Oklahoma City.

The Spurs are 42-31 against the spread on NBA odds this season and 32-39-2 'over/under.'


Grizzlies Have Watered-Down Roster
Memphis (41-32) has had worse injury luck than any team in the NBA this season except for maybe New Orleans. The Grizzlies are currently fifth in the West and aren't likely to get any higher as they are 4.5 games behind No. 4 Los Angeles. Those two thus could be on track to meet in the first round o the playoffs. Portland is 3.5 games behind Memphis at No. 6.

The Grizzlies remain without center Marc Gasol for the rest of the season. Fellow frontcourt starter Zach Randolph has missed two of the past four games with an ankle injury and is questionable here. Listed as out are star point guard Mike Conley, who might return for the playoffs from an Achilles injury, as well as P.J. Hairston and Brandan Wright. You starting five tonight is likely going to be Jordan Farmar and Tony Allen in the backcourt and Matt Barnes, JaMychal Green and Chris Andersen in the frontcourt. Not great. Green played a few games with the Spurs last season.

Memphis has had 27 different players log minutes this season, the highest number of players for one team in a single season since Dallas used 27 in 1996-97. The Grizzlies are going to become the first team in NBA history to make the playoffs while using at least 24 different players in a season.

The Grizzlies are 39-33-1 ATS on NBA picks and 41-31-1 O/U.


Season Series
San Antonio leads 3-0. On Nov. 21 in San Antonio, the Spurs were 8-point favorites at sportsbooks with a total of 190 and won 92-82. Leonard had 19 points and Parker 18. Memphis only led once, at 2-0. The Grizzlies were 17-for-17 from the free-throw line but 1-for-9 from 3-point range. Randolph was out for Memphis as was Aldridge for San Antonio. On Dec. 3 in Memphis, the Spurs were -3 (total of 183) and won 103-83 behind 27 points and career-high seven 3-pointers from Leonard.  Parker had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. On Friday in San Antonio, the Spurs were 13-point favorites (total of 190.5) and won 110-104. Aldridge had 32 points and 12 rebounds and the Spurs matched the best home start in NBA history with their 37th in a row. Leonard, Danny Green, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills all sat out for the Spurs, who shot 57.1 percent from the field and improved to 33-0 when hitting at least 50 percent this season. Green led Memphis with 20 points. Overall the Spurs have won four in a row in the series.

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Free NBA Pick:  Under 192½
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker

NBA Free Picks: I don't think Leonard is playing. If he does, I'll take the Spurs. If not, go Grizzlies. The Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games. 'Under' regardless. The 'under' is 9-0 in San Antonio's past nine road games vs. teams with a winning home record. 

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