This should be an extremely bruising Western Conference Finals, featuring two of most well-rounded teams in the NBA. Who will grab the Game 1 win?
At this point in the playoffs, it's rare to see much line movement in any of these games. We've gotten a good feel for every one of the competing teams, and home-court advantage is always the most important factor.
For Game 1, the Spurs are on their own court and that's why they're favored by 4.5 points on most NBA odds boards. As for the total, that can be found at either 182.5 or 183, depending on where you look.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs: ATS Pick
All four regular season meetings between these two teams were relatively close, save for January's matchup which San Antonio won 103-82 at home. In four encounters, the home team won each time.
Memphis completely dominated Oklahoma City inside during the conference semi-finals, with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combining to give the Grizzlies a formidable presence down low. They still hold the advantage over the Spurs here in the next round, but San Antonio will provide a lot more problems on the offensive side, primarily because of Tim Duncan.
Mike Conley has been excellent throughout the postseason, but he meets his match in Tony Parker, who's averaged 22.4 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 4.1 RPG so far in the playoffs.
Throw in the vastly underrated Kawhi Leonard, as well as X factors like Manu Ginobili and Danny Green, and you can see how San Antonio was able to eventually suffocate the life out of Golden State.
The Grizzlies are on a crazy profitable run at the moment, having covered in their last 10 games. You read that right: since their Game 1 loss to the L.A. Clippers (91-112), they've gone 10-0 ATS, covering five times as dogs and five times as favorites.
However, all good things come to an end. While we wouldn't be shocked in the least if Memphis steals away one of these first two games in San Antonio, we have to side with the Spurs to get the cover. San Antonio got a big wake-up call in the last round at home and we expect them to come out with a lot of focus in Game 1.
NBA Pick: San Antonio Spurs -4.5 6 at Bet365
Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs: O/U Pick
Though this series is being billed as a physical slug-fest between two veteran teams, we can't lose sight of the fact that the Grizzlies and Spurs have been successful on the offensive end so far in the playoffs.
Memphis has averaged 97.2 PPG in 11 playoff games thus far. Randolph has been good for 19.7 points per contest, while Gasol (18.3), Conley (17.6), and Allen (11.1) have been contributing in that regard as well.
With those four stepping up, Memphis has been able to survive the poor shooting efforts from guys like Jerryd Bayless (36.3 percent shooting in playoffs) and Tayshaun Prince (35.4 percent). That said, given how efficient the Spurs can be offensively, the Grizzlies are going to need everyone to step up this time around.
Just how productive can San Antonio be? So far in the postseason the Spurs have been good for 102.8 PPG, as Parker, Duncan, Leonard, Ginobili, and Green are all averaging in double figures. Plus, don't forget about a bench that features a couple of deadly shooters in Gary Neal and Matt Bonner.
We have no doubt that some of these games will be dominated by stingy defense, resulting in low-scoring final scores, but for Game 1 we see a lot of buckets falling as these teams get a feel for one another. As such, we'll be adding the OVER to our sports picks for the day.
Pick: OVER 182.5 for your NBA picks.
Enjoy the game!