NBA Picks: Grizzlies vs. Clippers Game 1 Picks

Jeff Grant

Saturday, April 20, 2013 2:20 AM GMT

The Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies will meet in the NBA playoffs for a second consecutive season, as the two teams open up a best-of-seven first-round series Saturday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this Western Conference matchup at the Staples Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

For a full series breakdown, check out our Clippers & Grizzlies Series Price Odds & Picks article.

 

Tiebreaker

Both teams finished with identical 56-26 records, but the series will open up in Southern California due to the Clippers earning a tiebreaker over the Grizzlies due to winning three of four regular-season meetings.

It’s also important to remind NBA handicappers that Los Angeles advanced past Memphis in seven games in a first round series during last year’s postseason.

Solid on the road

Memphis was definitely focused on trying to earn home-court advantage for its first series during the playoffs this year, but the team did manage to finish the regular season with a solid 24-17 record away from FedExForum.

The Grizzlies were a disappointing 1-4 straight up (SU) and 2-3 against the spread (ATS) as road underdogs of 3.5 to 6 points, while the UNDER went 3-2 in that situation.

Points in the paint

One of the key areas to focus in on when making your sports picks in this series is points in the paint, as Los Angeles is fifth in that particular category in averaging 44.9 points per game, while Memphis finished eighth (43.1).

Clippers forward Blake Griffin will need to be aggressive in this area, which is something he’s struggled with against the Grizzlies in 11 regular season meetings, as he’s averaged just 17.0 points.

With that being said, Memphis power forward Zach Randolph has also been limited in this series, scoring just 14.6 points in 31 games versus the Clippers.  That particular mark is his lowest average against any team in the league.

Great situation

The Grizzlies led the NBA in allowing just 89.5 points per game, but the Clippers land in a solid situation to potentially win Game 1, as they’ve gone 10-4 SUATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus seasons.

Total players will also find that Saturday night’s host has gone OVER the total in all six tries in that particular situation during the 2012-13 campaign.

[gameodds]5/226775/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Clippers as one of their NBA picks against the spread, as point guard Chris Paul has won four of his previous five games series openers in postseason play—averaging 24.0 points and 11.8 assists.

Paul will be the difference in his matchup with Memphis’ Mike Conley on the perimeter, with both players rank among the league’s best in steals.

NBA Pick:  Los Angeles Clippers -4.5 at Bookmaker