NBA Picks: Grizzlies to 'Cover' vs. 76ers

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 15, 2014 1:35 PM GMT

Stop the presses: The Philadelphia 76ers have just beaten the basketball odds. This is not a hoax. Surely the Memphis Grizzlies can put a stop to this Saturday night at the WFC.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 14 inclusive:

82-64-2 ATS

21-20 Totals

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!

No, the Philadelphia 76ers (15-50 SU, 24-41 ATS) didn’t win Friday night. They extended their losing streak to 19 games with a 101-94 defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. But that was easily close enough to beat the NBA betting lines as 16-point home dogs. That’s what I get for not fading the Pacers. Philadelphia is now 5-14 ATS in its last 19 games. Good game, good effort.

Meanwhile, north of the border, the Memphis Grizzlies (38-27 SU, 30-33-2 ATS) were losing 99-86 to the Toronto Raptors (+1). At least I got that one right. But does that mean we should jump on the Sixers bandwagon for Saturday’s matchup (7:30 p.m. ET) at the New Spectrum? I think I’d rather clean out my ears with a power drill. Even if Philly is getting another 13.5 points on the NBA odds board for this contest.

Nick at Nite

Before we get too excited over Friday’s small sample size of results, we need to put things in perspective. Overcoming the NBA lines against the Pacers is no big deal these days. They had dropped the cash in eight straight games going into Philadelphia. Things are not well in Corn Country. And there’s no shame for Memphis in losing to the Raptors, especially at the ACC, where Toronto is 20-12 SU, and 17-7 SU since the Rudy Gay trade. It just shows how inelastic the NBA betting market is when it comes to the Raptors. Underdogs at home? Really?

The Grizzlies will be fine. They’re still 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS in their last eight games. And they had a 79-78 lead on Toronto before things fell apart late in the fourth quarter. Five different Memphis players scored in double-figures, including back-up SG Nick Calathes (12.2 PER), who posted 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 18 minutes. Good basketball was played on Friday.

Check out the top NBA Championship Betting Lines

There’s Always the Flyers

As for the Sixers, yes, Thaddeus Young (17.0 PER) is still on the team, and he had quite the game against Indiana, filling the stat sheet with 25 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals. But Young needed 31 shots to do it, and he was a minus-1 on the night. All the Sixers finished the game in the minus column. They only managed to keep it close because they had 23 more shot attempts (!) than the Pacers, thanks primarily to 21 Indiana turnovers. Mmmmm… turnovers.

It’s difficult to overstate just how bad the Sixers are. Thanks to the greatly improved stats available at NBA.com, we can see how they’ve gotten progressively worse over the course of the 2013-14 campaign. In November, Philadelphia scored 97.9 points per 100 possessions while allowing 105.1 points (minus-7.2). In March, Philadelphia is scoring 92.6 points/100 while allowing 110.1 points (minus-17.5).

We can also look at some of the Four Factors to see how the 76ers have gone from bad to worse. In November, they had a 48.5 eFG% and a 26.4 OREB%, and their opponents had a 52.1 eFG% and a 25.0 OREB%. In March? A 45.6 eFG% and a 23.2 OREB% for the Sixers, a 55.7 eFG% and a 26.6 OREB% for their opponents. On top of all that, 42.2 percent of opponents’ shots are coming from the free-throw line this month, up from 25.2 percent in November. That’s a lot of freebies, and that’s why I have no problem continuing to fade Philadelphia from here until the season mercifully ends.

NBA Pick: Take the Grizzlies –13.5 at bet365

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