NBA Picks: Grizzlies vs. Spurs Game 1

Jeff Grant

Friday, May 17, 2013 11:40 AM GMT

The Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs split four regular-season meetings, as the two teams prepare to open up a best-of-seven series to earn the right to play either the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA finals.

Let’s take a look at the NBA odds for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at the AT&T Center, with Sunday’s opening tip scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. 

Advanced past a couple heavyweights 

Memphis has undoubtedly had the toughest path to the third round of any team in the 2013 NBA playoffs, as it advanced past the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers. 

The Grizzlies are 8-3 straight up (SU) and 10-1 against the spread (ATS) in the postseason, with the OVER going 7-4 in those 11 contests. 

Fortunate 

NBA oddsmakers will likely offer the Spurs at a discount price in Sunday’s series opener, considering the public watched the No. 2 seed struggle to move past the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors. 

The Spurs had no trouble in sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in their first round matchup, but the long layoff in between series proved to be a major hurdle. 

Over the last two-plus seasons, the franchise is 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in the conference finals. 

Defense wins championships 

There’s no doubt that the Grizzlies deserve a look for your sports picks as a underdog in the futures market to walk away with the championship, considering they led the league in allowing just 89.3 points per game during the regular season. 

Memphis has compiled a 28-14 SU record and 28-12-2 ATS mark versus teams that have averaged 99 or more points per game. 

Crash the glass 

This series will likely be won in the paint area, with the Grizzlies front court tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph crashing the offensively glass—leading directly to second-chance points. 

San Antonio was outmanned on the glass in the first four games of its semifinal series, but was able to turn the tide in winning the battle in the last two contests—mainly due to Golden State battling through numerous injuries.

Game 1 outlook 

I’ve established the Spurs as three-point home favorites Sunday afternoon, which means that a number of three or lower in the market would be an ideal choice for our NBA picks, while the Grizzlies are worth a look at four or higher. 

Handicapper Line:  San Antonio Spurs -3.5