Improved Defense Makes Grizzlies Our NBA Pick vs. Wolves Despite Gasol's Injury

Jordan Sharp

Saturday, January 23, 2016 3:31 PM GMT

The Grizzlies have been up and down this season. However, will a potential injury to their best player derail their chances of covering tonight vs. Timberwolves? Find out our NBA pick inside.

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Free NBA Pick: Grizzlies -3
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Marc Gasol’s Injury
Tonight, the NBA odds have the Grizzlies as -3 road favorites in Minnesota, with a total of 193 points. While the total has dropped a full five points from where it opened earlier yesterday evening, the spread is where I am looking at for value. While the Wolves are going to be a very solid team in a couple of years, their lack of defense and lack of experience at key positions has hurt them at times this season.

However, tonight with Marc Gasol listed as questionable due to a knee contusion, the Wolves could get a big boost ATS if Gasol can’t play. However, if Gasol does play the Grizzlies are almost certainly a good value laying only three points against Minnesota.

As we’ve mentioned before, the Wolves have been one of the best fades when playing at home so far of any team in the league. Minnesota is only 5-17-1 ATS when playing at Target Center, and once again I think they could be overvalued at home, especially if the Grizzlies have the services of Big Spain.

While Memphis is only 9-11-1 ATS when playing on the road this season, in their last ten games their defense has been ramping up, giving up only 96.7 points per game. One of the reasons the Wolves have struggled so much at home has been their scoring, which ranks towards the bottom of the league at only 97 points per game. While the Grizzlies haven’t been much better scoring the ball away from home, they dropped 102 points against Denver on the road the other night, and they have scored at least 100 points in their last four games in a row.

 

The Sharp Pick
If you take away their game against the Suns, which the Wolves held Phoenix to only 87 points, in their last five games sandwiching that win, Minnesota is giving up over 108 points per game. On top of that, even as home underdogs this season, the Wolves have been a pretty bad NBA pick, going 3-9-1 ATS when playing at home as dogs.

Memphis on the other hand is a respectable 5-4 ATS this season when playing as favorites on the road, and while neither team has been great in conference games this season, the Grizzlies are simply too good defensively to let this one slip away. Mike Conley is back after an extended absence and he makes the Grizzlies offense run much smoother. He will likely dominate the tempo against Ricky Rubio tonight, and while the Wolves will try and speed the Grizzlies up, I suspect Memphis’ defense and half court offense will rule the day in this one.

Memphis has now won six of their last seven games SU, while the Wolves have dropped 11 of their last 12 games SU, and they are only 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games overall. While Memphis hasn’t been great ATS on the road recently, they won and covered their only matchup against the Wolves earlier this season in Minnesota, and I expect them to do the same tonight. As long as Gasol is ready and active in this one, I am laying the points with the road team, and adding them to my NBA Picks tonight.