NBA Picks: Lock Raptors -5.5 Against Struggling Grizzlies

Kevin Stott

Thursday, March 31, 2016 9:48 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016 9:48 PM GMT

The Raptors head to Beale Street to face the beat-up and slumping Grizzlies at the FedExForum in Memphis on Friday night. Toronto is favored by 5.5 points on the NBA odds board.

Let’s take a look at the L10 meetings in this inter-conference series, the Trends and recent Streaks and talk about those Injuries and offer up an NBA pick in what could be a lackluster game with Memphis on a 4-game losing skid and (still) without two of its three best players in C Marc Gasol and PG Mike Conley.

 

Odds Overview
DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors (50-24 SU, 21-15 SU Road) head to the Volunteer State and the FedExForum on Friday night to face the Memphis Grizzlies (41-34 SU, 25-13 SU Home) in an important inter-conference date for both teams and the second of two meetings between the two clubs this Regular Season with the Raptors winning the first meeting in Toronto, 98-85 on Feb. 21 and covering ATS as 8-point favorites (Under, 202). Offshore Oddsmakers have made the Raptors solid 4½-point Road favorites (BetOnline, Sportsbook.ag) with the game’s Total (Points) set at 198½ (Sportsbook.ag). The Money Line (Winner) odds see host Toronto priced at -230 (Bookmaker) against slumping and consistently Marc Gasol and Mike Conley-less host Memphis at +190 on the takeback.

 

Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors (40-34-0 ATS, 20-16-0 ATS Road) and Head Coach Dwane Casey are a team to watch from this point forward, and heading into play on Thursday, sat just 2 games back of the 1st-place Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference so going out and winning the East outright is still a possibility for these Raptors, who catch Memphis at a good time with both key cogs Marc Gasol and Mike Conley still out—thus the 4½- to 5½-point line Toronto’s way in the city of Memphis where the Griz usually do pretty good both SU and ATS. In their last game on Wednesday night, the Raptors (33/1 to win NBA Championship, BetVictor) hit the 50-win mark for the first time in franchise history—the last franchise in the NBA to achieve the feat—topping the Atlanta Hawks and snapping their 4-0game winning streak, 105-97 in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre as DeMar DeRozan (26 points), Jonas Valanciunas (19 points, 9 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (17 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds) led the way for the hosts. Lowry was playing with a bad Right Elbow from which he had fluid drained the day before. UCLA product Norman Powell (10 points) started for Toronto for a fourth straight game and was in double-digits scoring for a fourth straight time, so keep him in Coach C.

The Raptors Bench provided 31 points in the victory with Terrence Ross (13 points) and Patrick Patterson (9 points, 7 rebounds) stepping up for the homeboys who have become very hard to beat at Home—something which will probably continue in the 2016/17 NBA Regular Season. But can DeRozan, Lowry and Toronto (11-2 vs. Division, 6-4 L10) really make a run at making it to the NBA Finals this campaign? This is the best they’ve looked in awhile and we soon shall all see. All of a sudden the Cavaliers, Raptors and the Hawks (with Atlanta playing so well) look really close...for now. On the Injury front here for Toronto (7/1 to win Eastern Conference, Coral), SF DeMarre Carroll (Knee) is still Out Indefinitely and F Luis Scola (Knee) sat out Wednesday’s game against the Hawks with Jason Thompson (2 points, 3 rebounds in 20 minutes) getting the start in his stead.

 

Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies (39-35-1 ATS, 20-18-0 ATS Home) and Head Coach Dave Joerger have hit a slump, and hit a slump at exactly the wrong time, having L4 in a row and going an unimpressive 2-8 SU L10 to take a scary grip on 5th place in the Western Conference and basically have no (realistic) chance of catching the Los Angeles Clippers (47-27) in 4th place and getting a Homecourt edge in the NBA Playoffs. But without the services of starting C Marc Gasol (Knee, Out for season) and PG Mike Conley (Achilles, expected to return mid-April) and predominantly playing a rugged Western Conference schedule, this team is beat-up and has more Hurts than just stars Gasol and Conley, with PF Brandan Wright (Knee) Out Indefinitely, SF PJ Hairston (Groin) Out until early April and SG Jordan Adams (Knee) Out Indefinitely as well as having star Zach Randolph (Ankle) banged up.

So it’s almost understandable to be losing like this and in a funk (a 4½-point Dogs to Toronto at Home in this spot), but if this team doesn’t stop the Beale Street Blue and Gold bleeding quickly, Memphis (300/1 to win NBA title, William Hill) will be in a horrible state Mentally and Physically and this NBA team may be ripe pickings for those looking to fade the Griz (99.1 AF-101.8 AA), who have L3 of their last 4 games ATS and are without so much of their Roster. In its last game on Wednesday night, the Grizzlies (5-5 ATS L10) lost here at Home in Memphis the Denver Nuggets, 109-105, despite a furious 4th Quarter rally (37-25). The Loss infuriated Memphis Head Coach Joerger who would prefer to play the Clippers in the opening Round of the NBA Playoffs and not someone better, ya know? “We don’t want to just get in the Playoffs, we want to get to 5th and play the (current #4 and almost lockdown #4 seed) Clippers,” Joerger told reporters after the Loss. “This was not a step in the right direction.” Zach Randolph (25 points)—who returned after missed two games with an Ankle sprain—Jordan Farmar (14 points), Michael Green (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Lance Stephenson (12 points) led the Grizzlies (5-5 ATS L10) in scoring.

 

Recent Series Trends, Some Dumb Trends, Logical Reasoning and Reasonable Pick
This has been an Under series, with the Under 8-2 ATS the L10 meetings and W4 straight with no team topping the 100-point mark in those games. The Home team has W4 in a row in this series, while the Raptors are 6-3-1 ATS in those 10 games and 3-1-1 over the L5. Trend-wise the Site here actually favors the Grizzlies with Memphis 17-8 ATS the L25 here at Home, but they’re catching the wrong team at the wrong time as anyone who could stop the hawks from topping 100 points after all those games is the real deal and LeBron & Company best take note. The Over is 15-6-1 in the Raptors L21 Road tilts while the Under is 11-4 the L15 meetings here in Memphis and a strong 25-6 ATS overall the L31 meetings (80.6%), including those aforementioned last three straight.

However the Over is 20-6-1 in the L27 Memphis games at the FedExForum—with Gasol missing from the middle to intimidate, rebound and generally clog the lane—and the Over is 10-4 in the Grizzlies L14 overall. And Memphis (42-32-2 O/U) and Matt Barnes have been an Over team this Regular Season as has been Toronto (39-34-1 O/U). So, conflicting Totals Trends may mean stay away, although anything hitting ATS at an 80.6% clip is either worth backing (bandwagon) or preventing one from betting the Over.

As far as the number (Point Spread), TopBet is still showing a 4½ and the 4½ mentioned above in the NBA odds overview paragraph at Sportbook.ag and BetOnline has already jumped to 5½—the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook just (Thursday afternoon) opened the game at (Toronto minus) 5 and 198—so the Sharps obviously also like the idea of fading this frustrated and beat-up Grizzlies bunch, and if Randolph’s Ankle Injury gets aggravated early on here, look out. A great angle, but always remember this is the NBA and Basketball and a different type of bet (and nervous watch) for sports gamblers.

Final Score Prediction: Raptors 101 Grizzlies 93

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NBA Pick: Raptors -5.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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