The Memphis Grizzlies have thrown the basketball odds for a loop. They’ve tied their first-round series with the San Antonio Spurs, and Tuesday’s Game 5 looks like a doozy.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. These are not the same Memphis Grizzlies who fell meekly to the San Antonio Spurs during last year’s first-round matchup. Literally; with Mike Conley (+5.8 BPM) and Marc Gasol (+4.3 BPM) in the line-up, the Grizz have both their All-Stars healthy for this year’s series, and it’s all tied at 2-2 after the favored Spurs tasted defeat twice in Memphis.
Which brings us to Game 5 this Tuesday (9:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV). San Antonio is a 9.5-point home chalk on the NBA odds board as we go to press, just like they were in Game 1. The Spurs didn’t have much trouble putting away Memphis at home, but our early consensus reports still show 100-percent support for the Grizz. Some books already have Memphis priced at +9. Has the market over-reacted?
Not necessarily. If you go by the advanced stats at FiveThirtyEight, Memphis +9 is a fair price for Tuesday’s game. But those Elo-based stats don’t know we’re in a playoff series, where the teams are adjusting and counter-adjusting after every game – almost every whistle. So there might not be much betting value in this spread.
The total is another matter. Tuesday’s over/under is 186.5 points, down from 187 at the open (despite unanimous consent for the OVER) and 190 points for Game 1. This is where we might find some value for our NBA picks. Trying to predict the outcome of these games is fun and everything, but we’ve been on our own March for Science here at the home office, and the science is telling us to give the OVER a spin.
But if Tony Allen plays Game 4 Kawhi probably has 10 fewer points, so the situation would be different. https://t.co/53Dtf9hAsK
— Kevin Lipe (@FlyerGrizBlog) April 23, 2017
Fine with us. The OVER is already 3-1 in this series; Game 4 did go to overtime, but the OVER was already in the bank with the score tied at 96-96 and the total set at 187 points. And now they want to make it even lower. Well, all righty then. Maybe we’d feel differently if the Grizz had premium defender Tony Allen (+2.4 DBPM, strained calf) ready for this series, or if Spurs super-pest Dewayne Dedmon (+3.2 DBPM) didn’t miss Game 4 with an undisclosed illness, leaving him iffy for Tuesday. It is what it is.