NBA Picks: Home Court Advantage Not Enough to Save Mavericks from Underdog Upset

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 4:21 PM GMT

Grizzlies find themselves near the top of the Western Confernce. With a winning combination of outstanding defense and above average offense, can they knock Dallas off in their building? 

Tip-off is set for tonight at 8:30 pm ET at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. 5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the Mavericks as a massive 5.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 199.

This spread sounds very high as Memphis has one of the best defenses in the league. NBA betting odds makers have given the Mavs the nod as the favorites due to the fact that they're playing on their home court. In my opinion, you need more than home court to detain the Grizzlies.

 

"Zebo"
He rests towards the end of the game, but Zach Randolph does plenty for the 30 minutes that he's allotted. Randolph has been getting off to fast starts, putting the Grizzlies in the lead of games and is basically a walking double that will give Memphis near 20 points per game. Randolph is coming off of a 24 point effort in a 103-94 win over Orlando and he looks to keep the ball rolling tonight. Dallas is designed more as an offense first, defense second club and that's just the type of team that will suit Randolph well as nobody can guard him and he can draw fouls at will.

In his last 10 games, Randolph has stepped up his offensive production, averaging 19.3 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. Look for him to have another huge 20-10 effort against the offensive-hungry Mavs.

 

Progression
For the season, Randolph isn't even the leading scorer on Memphis. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr.'s offensive games have both progressed as their careers have went along. Gasol gives the Grizzlies size in the paint, making it difficult for opponents to score on Memphis while he's averaging nearly 20 points per contest. Conley Jr. has also turned himself from a ball distributor and good defender into a reliable source of offense and a player that can cover any point guard in this league. Throw in the addition of Jeff Green from the Boston Celtics and the Grizzlies are not just known as a defensive team. This is why they've had so much success this season and one would have to consider them a contender for the NBA Title.

 

Shootout in Dallas?
The Mavericks will look to turn this game into a shootout. With the addition of Rajon Rondo, this team is averaging 107.8 points per game and has become one of the leaders in assists. The only issue here is their defense as they allow 101.8 points per game. A great example of Dallas' defense backfiring on them was Sunday's game against an inferior New Orleans Pelicans team as the Mavs were outscored and lost the game 109-106.

While Dallas is a playoff team, a matchup against the Grizzlies appears to be a poor matchup and 5.5 points from the odds makers also appears to be a gift to Memphis backers.

Guys like Dirk Nowitzki will always get their points, but on the bright side for Dallas, both Monta Ellis and Rajon Ellis both found their games on Sunday as Ellis poured in 36 points against New Orleans and Rondo had a near triple-double while actually being successful in shooting the ball. Nobody doubts Rondo's ability to dish the rock or even grab rebounds at just 6 foot 1, but his ability to score has really taken a nose dive as of late.

 

Outcome
The point spread is much too high in this game. Memphis has a legitimate shot at actually winning the game as their offense has gotten much better to go along with possibly the best defense in the NBA. Back this underdog tonight and make them part of your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: Memphis +5.5 at 5Dimes