NBA Pick on Grizzlies to Cover Again ATS in Game 4

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, May 11, 2015 1:44 PM UTC

Monday, May. 11, 2015 1:44 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 Monday.


Things could become even more dire for the team with the best record in the NBA Monday night in its Western Conference semifinal when those top seeded Golden State Warriors (72-17, 30-14 away) again visit the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies (61-29, 35-10 home) for Game 4 from FedExForum in Memphis, TN at 9:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT, with the Grizzlies leading the series 2-1.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Memphis as a home underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ with odds of -105.

Good Defense Stopping Good Offense Again
Perhaps the way this series has gone so far would not be as surprising as it has been to most people had we better heeded the old adage, “Great defense stops great offense!” Memphis has dictated the play for most of this series while taking a 2-1 lead, including a shocking win in Oakland where the Warriors had been 42-2 this year heading into that Game 2, and their defense is the reason they now have a chance to take a series stranglehold with Game 4 at home.

The Warriors were rarely rattled when they were the best NBA picks in the league during the regular season at 67-15, nor during a four-game sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round even pulling off a miraculous comeback in Game 3 of that series after being down 17 points with six minutes left. However, they have certainly seemed rattled by the play of the Grizzlies in this series, especially over the last two games.

Pace Makes the Race
This series is a battle of tempos, with the Warriors playing at the fastest pace in the NBA this season and Memphis ranking 26th in pace rating at 94.2 possessions per game, and there is no question that the underdog Grizzlies have been the team controlling the pace this series with the ‘under’ now at 3-0. And the problem for the Warriors is there is not much they can do to speed the pace up short of forcing turnovers and running in transition.

Memphis combines a great defense that ranked second in the NBA in points against during the regular season at 95.1 per game and had lowered that to 93.6 points during the playoffs with their slow tempo and excellent ball protection, a combination that makes it extremely tough to speed games up as even the run-and-gun Warriors are quickly discovering. The Grizzlies are committing the fewest turnovers of any team during these playoffs at 10.8 per game.

Furthermore the Grizzlies have dominated the paint in this series with perhaps the best big-man tandem in the NBA in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and that continued again in Game 3 Saturday with the duo combining for 43 points and 23 rebounds. That could be tough for the Warriors to overcome unless they rediscover the great stroke on the perimeter that they had all year, but will Memphis allow that to happen?

MVP Has Disappeared
The Warriors were the only team in the NBA this season to average at least 100 possessions per game as they finished at 100.7, and when you add in leading the league in field goal percentage at 47.8 percent and three-point shooting at 49.8 percent, it should come as no surprise that they led the league in scoring at a bountiful 110.0 points per game. But not only have they been forced to play slower in this series but their shooting has been off also.

Some wrote off their 41.9 percent shooting performance including going 6-for-26 from beyond the three-point arc in the shocking 97-90 home loss in Game 2 as an anomaly, but they then shot just 43.2 percent and duplicated the 6-for-26 from three point land in Game 3 while scoring one point less in the 99-89 defeat!

Golden State boats this year’s league MVP in Stephen Curry, but even he had been continuously pestered by the Memphis defense while shooting 4-for-21 from three-point range the last two games including an air ball in Game 3, something that may not have happened all year from someone generally considered the best pure shooter in the game.

Now this series is by no means over as the Warriors would even it up and take back home court advantage with a win tonight, which is not easy vs. a Grizzlies’ team now 35-10 at home combining regular season and playoffs, but Golden State may need to resign itself to the fact that if it is going to win, it will have to be at the Memphis preferred slower pace. That is not impossible, but it does not give much confidence in giving 4½ points at a difficult road venue.

Grizzlies ATS Success vs. Warriors Nothing New
Finally, playing the Warriors tough is nothing new for a Memphis team that went 2-1 ATS in the three regular season meetings between these teams including winning outright in the only regular-season meeting here at FedExForum. The last two wins in this series now brings the Grizzlies to 9-4 ATS in the last 13 head-to-head meetings overall.

We think that even if the Warriors do manage to squeak out a humongous win here it would be by a narrow margin, so with the spread actually being about one-half point higher than it was for Game 3 despite the Grizzlies imposing their pace on this series from the get-go, we recommend taking the rather generous points with Memphis at home vs. Golden State in Game 4, with yet another outright upset far from unlikely on Monday.

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NBA Pick: Grizzlies +4½ (-105)

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