Grizzlies are the NBA Pick to Cover vs. Warriors in Game 1

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, May 3, 2015 2:37 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 3, 2015 2:37 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Sunday.


In a series that is a stark contrast in styles, the defensive minded team that plays at a slow pace could hold value as a double-digit underdog Sunday when those fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies (59-28, 25-18 away) pay a visit to the top seeded Golden State Warriors (71-15, 41-2 home) for Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series from Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA at 3:35 ET in a game televised nationally on ABC.

The point spread at Bet365 has Memphis as a big road underdog for this contest with the current line at +10 with odds of -110.

Both Teams Made Short Work in First Round
Both of these teams had no trouble dispelling of their first round opponents in short order. The Warriors had the best record in basketball during the regular season at 67-15 and they have shown why by not yet losing during this post-season, finishing off a four-game sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans on the road last Saturday.

The Grizzlies were nearly as impressive though vs. the fourth seeded Portland Trail Blazers, although Memphis had the home court advantage despite being the lower seed. And the Grizzlies were on bad fourth quarter on Game 4 away from a four-game sweep themselves, settling for being the winning NBA picks in five games in a series that just wrapped up on Wednesday.

Memphis Defense and Pace Makes Grizzlies an Overlay?
That Wednesday ending could give Memphis a bit of a conditioning advantage for this Game 1, as the Grizzlies have gotten a nice blow between series while preparing for another opponent while at the same time not being off so long that they may show some rust. And the Memphis defense is as good as ever, finishing second in the NBA in points against during the season at 95.1 per game and then allowing an average of just 93.8 points vs. Portland.

Granted the Grizzlies were just 20th in the league in scoring this season with their 98.3 points per game, but much of that had to do with their methodical pace that left them 26th in the NBA in pace rating grading out at 94.2 possessions per game, a far cry from the phrenetic Warriors who led the NBA in pace as the only team averaging at least 100 possessions at 100.7 per game, and whoever controls the tempo could be the deciding edge in who covers this contest.

Now, one way the Warriors can speed things up is in transition off of turnovers, but the problem with that is that Memphis was very good with ball control all season and they were excellent in that area in the first round averaging the fewest turnovers of any team during these playoffs so far with just 8.2 per game. Look for that to continue here and that pace obviously makes Memphis an attractive double-digit underdog, especially when also considering the great defense.

Maybe Some Early Rust for Golden State
The Warriors on the other hand led the NBA in scoring with 110.0 per game, field goal percentage at 47.8 percent and three-point shooting at 39.8 percent, although having over a week off could throw off the Golden State timing a bit through the early stages and that is not to mention now having to face an elite defense.

Plus the Warriors may have a tough time countering Memphis having the best big-man tandem in the league in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Granted the injury to Mike Conley hurts the Grizzlies, but fellow guard Courtney Lee did step up to average 19.3 points on 29-for-42 for a whopping 69.1 percent shooting over the final four games against the Trail Blazers!

And do not forget that the defense of the Grizzlies prevailed ATS over the offense of the Warriors twice in the three regular season meetings, including an outright win in Memphis and a narrow four-point loss here in Oakland, which was just about as well as any team played Golden State in this building their year where the Warriors went 39-2 straight up during the season and the 2-0 in the first round!

Recent Success in Oakland
And that success by the Grizzlies here is actually nothing new with them now sitting 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in Oakland, as well as 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings overall regardless of venue.

Add this all up and the Grizzlies look like overlays catching double-digits in this spot, so take the seemingly generous points with Memphis when it visits Golden State in Oakland for Game 1 on Sunday.

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NBA Pick: Grizzlies +10 (-110)

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