NBA Picks: Mavericks vs. Grizzlies in Western Conference Battle

Doug Upstone

Monday, January 19, 2015 3:58 PM GMT

Those creating NBA picks for Mavericks vs. Grizzlies have a tough choice, as it involves the teams with third and fifth-best records in the Western Conference.

Memphis arrives at this matchup the hotter team, both with their straight record and against the betting odds. Does this make the Grizzlies a stronger play for sports picks, let’s drill down deeper to search for that answer.

 

Dallas Still a Work in Progress at Mid-Point of Season
The Mavericks are 28-13 (18-20-3 ATS) and tied with Houston in the standings, yet nobody has a true feel how good this team actually is.

In reviewing Dallas’ schedule, it is hard to find a signature victory. Yes, the Dec.20th victory over San Antonio was quality win, but the Spurs roster was very depleted at that point and the Mavs won 99-93 as 10.5-point favorites, thus not even beating the NBA odds. The closest game that stands out was a thriller in Chicago on Dec. 2; winning 132-129 in 2 OT’s and even then Dallas was just a 1.5-point road underdog.

For the most part, the Cuban’s have done what is expected when you examine their season.

Dallas is 14-6 (7-11-2 ATS) as home favorite and 11-1 (7-4-1 ATS) as visiting fave. Away from Big D as underdogs, the Mavericks are 3-6 (4-5 ATS).

The trade for Rajon Rondo was designed to solidify the backcourt and add defensive pressure, yet coach Rick Carlisle’s is still 23rd in points allowed at 102.5 per game and 16th in field goal percentage defense (45.2).

As the Mavericks start the second half, this is a measuring stick contest. “This game is an opportunity for us,” Carlisle said. “It’s not easy at all. The whole league is about rising to big-time challenges.”

 

Memphis Looks to Keep the Train Rollin’
NBA basketball handicappers and sports bettors have witnessed Memphis string together four straight wins and covers and they lead the Southwest Division by two games over the Rockets and Mavericks.

The Grizzlies strength is further shown in having the third-best record in the league against the tougher Western Conference at 18-6 (12-12 ATS).

What has caused Memphis to be an improved team this season? Coach David Joerger has made subtle changes to make the Grizzles more efficient on offense without sacrificing too much defense.  

Memphis is ninth in points allowed in the NBA at 97.9, which at this time is 2.7 higher than last season. However, their field goal percentage allowed is virtually identical (44.8% vs. 44.9%). The Grizz are up to seventh overall in – Opponent 2-point percentage rate – at 71.3 percent, down from 73.1 percent last season. In other words, they are playing better defense inside the arc.

Offensively, Memphis is much better, averaging 5.7 more points a game and more effective in nearly every important offensive metric relating to efficiency.

This is still the same tough-minded group, which now can score more easily, yet still be solid on defense.

 

Betting Odds and Head to Head
With the uncertainty of Mike Conley back for Memphis, the sportsbooks did not release numbers until this morning. The Grizzlies opened at -3 with a total of 203.

The Grizz are 6-1 at Fed Ex Forum the past four years versus Dallas, yet is only 3-3-1 ATS, including 1-3-1 against the number more recently.

 

Scheduling
Beginning tonight, Dallas will play on alternate days through next Sunday, playing in the Twin Cities and the Big Easy on Wednesday and Sunday and a home game sandwiched in Friday versus Chicago. The Mavs are 6-3 and 3-6 ATS with two days off this season.

Memphis continues its homestand with Game #2 tonight. The Grizz will have slumping Toronto, Philly and Orlando in the next trio of home tilts. A win today sets the possibility of an extended winning streak. Memphis is 16-6 and 14-8 ATS with a single day break.

Check out our top NBA picks on the total.

The Choice
With Dallas 0-4-1 ATS since Jan. 7th, we find they has seen a number of defensive breakdowns, with opposing teams averaging 107 PPG and twice conceding over 50 percent of shot attempts to be converted in away outings.

Expect a highly competitive conflict with Memphis winning and covering because they are simply playing better basketball at the moment and the short spread in not a number they cannot handle.

NBA Basketball Free Pick: Memphis -3 at BetOnline