NBA Picks: Back Grizzlies -3 To Come Out On Top vs. Lakers

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 2:30 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2016 2:30 PM UTC

Our NBA handicapper analyzes this nationally televised matchup between the Grizzlies and Lakers. Is there a reason to think that the Lakers could come up with an upset and beat the NBA odds?

With the Memphis Grizzlies (41-30) holding the 5th seed in the Western Conference securely, they try to get through a stretch of 8 out of 11 games on the road without doing much damage to their playoff seeding going forward. This portion of the road trip started well, as they beat the Phoenix Suns last night, 103-97, covering as 3.5-point road underdogs. Now they take a short flight to Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles Lakers (14-55) are coming off of a three-day layoff after losing to those same Phoenix Suns last Friday as 4-point favorites. It was the first time that the Lakers had been favored in a game in quite some time.

The odds in this game naturally favor the Grizzlies with the better record, but as they are coming off of a game last night with no rest and are on the road, the line can be found as low as -3 at sites such as 5Dimes. Most sportsbooks also have movement towards the Memphis side, as Pinnacle opened at -3 NBA odds before shortly being bet up to -3.5 in favor of the Grizzlies. The O/U total is also exhibiting some line movement, opening at 203 before being bet down to 202 at Pinnacle.

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with the Lakers, and not much has changed over the course of the “farewell” season to Kobe Bryant. They’ve lost 11 of their last 14 games SU and have gone 5-9 ATS in that same span. They’ve also had trouble scoring, indicated by their 5-9 O-U record over those fourteen games. That of course would make sense because the Lakers are the worst team in basketball in shooting the basketball. This is a problem for those whose profession is to shoot a round ball through another small round cylinder. The Lakers have shot only 41.7% from field goal range and 31.9% from behind the arc this season.

While the Lakers are playing for lottery picks, for Memphis this game is very important. Holding on to that 5-seed, or playing up the 4th, would lock them into a first round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis smoked the Clippers like some good BBQ in their last meeting on Saturday, winning 113-102 at home as a 9-point underdog.

While they are coming off of a back-to-back, looking over the rotation that Memphis employed versus Phoenix tells you that rest shouldn’t be much of an issue. The Grizzlies had only one player, Matt Barnes, who played more than 30 minutes in the game versus the Suns. They had seven more players that played 30 minutes (exactly) or less. A modicum of energy on the defensive side of the ball should be more than enough to limit these Lakers enough for a win, and the focus can and should be on D’Angelo Russell – the only bright spot for the Lakers of late.


Final Analysis
Memphis has owned this series in the last 3 years, going 10-1 SU against the Lakers over that time period. They have also beat the Lakers SU and ATS already three times this season, and none of those games were relatively close. The closest the Lakers came to Memphis this season was a 9-point loss on the road last month. And in each of those games, the Lakers have allowed Memphis to shoot more than 50% from the field. I see no reason to try to buck the trend in this game, and suggest taking Memphis -3 at 5Dimes as one of your NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Grizzlies -3
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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