Grizzlies to 'Cover' vs. Jazz for NBA Picks

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:36 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014 12:36 PM UTC

The Grizzlies have been like ants, busy playing tremendous defense and piling up victories. The betting odds are not in their favor, but they still could move up in the conference standings with W’s.

Memphis is seventh in the Western Conference and one game behind Golden State in the loss column and two behind Portland, leaving open the possibility to could climb all the way to the No. 5 slot in the Western Conference if they continue to win and still face each of the two teams as mentioned one more time.

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Same Old Grizzlies
Memphis might has changed coaches because of organizational beliefs is newer statistical analysis, but NBA basketball handicappers still see a defensive-first team who finds ways to score.

The Grizzlies are third in points allowed at 94.0 per contest and are particularly effective in the first half where they are second in the NBA in conceding the fewest points at only 45.7. Memphis bread and butter is the halfcourt defense, in which they are also second in surrendering just 55.6 PPG on two-point shot.

Memphis Grinding Out Games
After a slow start caused by injuries and first-year head coach Dave Joerger trying to find his way in developing the rotations he wanted to implement, everything has settled down. After a two-point home loss to San Antonio on Jan. 7, Memphis started to click. The Grizzlies went off an 11-1 tear to right the ship (8-4 ATS) and are 27-9 (20-16 ATS) since that date.

While winning matters in moving up the standings, Memphis hardly does so in impressive fashion being 10th in their conference with a winning score differential of just 1.7 points per game.

Interesting Numbers on Memphis
Despite a fine 42-28 record, because the Grizz struggle to score despite their defense, they are only 34-35-1 ATS, making them an unsafe wager for NBA picks. Against Northwest Division teams like Utah, Memphis is 9-4 ATS, which is far better than they have done in their own division, where they are a paltry 3-11 SU and ATS.

The Grizzlies are a solid 31-10 as favorites, but a paltry 20-20-1 against the NBA odds as set by the sportsbooks.

If you think the Beale Street boys have a chance of being upset tonight or losing in future games, when making your sports picks know they are absurdly awful 2-26 ATS when they lose this season.

Utah Heading to Lottery but Players don’t want to hear about it
At 23-48, the rebuilding Utah franchise will not make the playoffs. A common theme among the conference cellar dwellers is their fans speaking about their teams “tanking”, which does not sit well with many players.

Rookie Troy Burke went on the record in conveying his feelings about this sort of talk. “I think that’s just selfish for a fan. We play hard, practice hard every single day. Why would we want to go out there and try to lose?” Burke said. “Wherever we do land in the lottery, that will be great for us, but to try to tank games and lose games, I think, is just absurd.” 

In the end, Utah fans just want to see a better product and since the season is lost, but they are not in the players shoes.

“As a player, that kind of sucks that they’re kind of rooting for us to lose,” Jazz captain Gordon Hayward said. “But you see where they’re coming from. We’re mathematically out of the playoffs. Fans just want to be better for the coming years.

“But as players, we’re trying to win every game. That’s what we go out to do. We can’t think about stuff like that.”

Jazz players have to do more than talk about winning
While all those words sound great, if someone wants to support Utah with their NBA picks, they have made that a virtually impossible situation. 

This month the Jazz are 2-11 and 3-7-3 ATS. Playing in the Western Conference makes for a treacherous terrain, nonetheless, in their 11 defeats, the average margin of defeat has been by a super-sized 14.2 points a game.

Also, some of the losses have come against teams from the East who are also well below .500. One can easily question the desire of the Utah players having lost to the Knicks by 17, Milwaukee by 26 and just two nights ago being dumped by Detroit at home by 20 points. In this case, effort means more than words.

Betting Odds and Scheduling
The oddsmakers opening line had Utah as 7.5-point underdogs with a total of 185. The Jazz is 6-18 and 9-13-2 ATS as home underdogs and is 13-3 UNDER after failing to cover three of their last four against the spread this season.

Tonight begins a crucial five-game road trip for Memphis, who has to focus this evening before heading to face the Warriors, Trail Blazers, at Denver and at Minnesota the next eight days.

After this Memphis encounter, Utah travels to New Orleans and Oklahoma City before returning home.

Head to Head Meetings
Utah has taken four of the last five meetings at home (2-3 ATS) and each meetings has gone UNDER the total.

The Choice
I think the line is accurate and would lean with Utah, but I would definitely recommend the UNDER.

NBA Free Pick – Lean Utah and play the total


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