NBA Picks: Play Memphis Grizzlies -8.5 Over Utah Jazz Tonight

Steven Suarez

Monday, December 22, 2014 4:27 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 4:27 PM GMT

The Grizzlies may have lost two in a row heading into tonight, but we fully expect them to get back on track at home against Utah. The question is: will they cover the NBA betting odds as huge favorites?

Odds Overview
The NBA odds have just been made public and the Grizzlies, as expected, are heavy favorites in tonight's home game against Gordon Hayward and the Jazz. Right now, Memphis is giving away either 8.5 or 9 points depending on the sportsbook in question.

Should we be on the lookout for a high-scoring game or a defensive struggle? NBA Odds makers have settled in between those two expectations by listing a total of 194 on the board. Memphis, as we know, has been super strong defensively, yet Utah has been one of the worst teams on that end of the floor this season.

 

Memphis Grizzlies
Ahead of Friday's date with the Bulls, the Grizzlies had earned a six-game winning streak and were feeling on top of the world. However, it wasn't a great weekend for Memphis, as they lost at home to Chicago and then got beaten pretty badly on the road against Cleveland yesterday.

We're not used to seeing the Grizzlies struggle (if you can call a two-game losing streak struggling), as they've been nothing short of terrific for most of the season. Despite their recent shortcomings, they're still in third place in the loaded Western Conference, so let's not overreact. Memphis will be just fine.

While guys like Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have been playing efficient basketball and stepping up night in and night out, you'd have to say it's Marc Gasol that's been the team's MVP thus far. He's really elevated his game offensively and has quickly become arguably the top (but defintely most versatile) center in the NBA. Gasol should prove to be a handful for the Jazz this evening.

 

Utah Jazz
After winning consecutive road games over the Heat and Magic, the Jazz were unable to notch their third straight win in Charlotte back on Saturday. They lost 104-86, not even coming close to covering the NBA betting lines as underdogs. 

Utah shot just 38.8 percent from the field and got outclassed inside by Al Jefferson and the Hornets. The Jazz were also unable to stop Kemba Walker from essentially doing whatever he wanted throughout. Quin Snyde got double-digit scoring out of six different guys, but the team's best player was probably Rudy Gobert, who came off the bench to put up 11 points, 12 rebounds, a block and a steal. It's never good when your most effective option is a bench player.

This will be the Jazz's last road game of a rather grueling trip, and they'll then get a good deal of rest before resuming play Saturday in Utah. One has to wonder if Utah will be looking ahead to a return home, rather than focusing on putting on a good showing against a motivated Memphis team. This one could indeed get ugly quickly if the Jazz aren't careful.

 

NBA Pick
Though this is the Grizzlies' third game in four nights, we can't help but feel they'll run away from the Jazz and easily cover this large number tonight.

You can't really compare these two teams, as Memphis is filled to the brim with experienced players who know how to get the job done, whereas Utah is one of the youngest teams in the NBA and still has a lot of learning to do in all facets of the game. Throw in the fact the Grizzlies have lost two in a row and will be eager to get back to their winning ways and the Jazz may be tired and ready to end this long road trip, and this sets up nicely for Memphis to win easily.

With Gasol and company an excellent 12-2 on their home court this season, we feel good about making them our NBA pick tonight. Back the Grizzlies.

Free NBA PickMemphis Grizz -8.5 at BookMaker

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