The Memphis Grizzlies take on the Portland Trail Blazers in a must-win game for both. The Grizzlies are holding on the final playoff spot in the West with the Blazers hot on their heels in 9th. If Memphis wants to secure their playoff position, they will need to win these matchup, which is one reason I like them as a Money Line Dog at some of the best sportsbooks.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Friday, July 31, 2020 – 04:00 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena
Memphis Trying to Hang on to Final Spot
Memphis has a 3.5 game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers and a win in this matchup will go a long way in securing a playoff spot. With New Orleans losing their opening seeding game to the Jazz, Memphis has a chance to start off on the right foot and put some distance between them and the chasing pack. Of course, this is only the first of eight games but winning against a direct rival is always important. With that in mind, that isn't enough for me to pick them as a Money Line Dog in this NBA pick. The reason I am picking them here is because of what I saw in their last scrimmage.
The Grizzlies went 1-2 in their scrimmages but if you watched their games, that record is a little misleading. In the first two games, the end of their bench which is extremely thin got a bunch of minutes and could not do enough to pull out wins. I predicted on Jammin With Jay Money (Monday to Saturday at Noon Eastern time on SBR's YouTube page) that the Grizzlies would close out the scrimmages with a win by playing their rotation guys more minutes. They did exactly that and I like what I saw from them, especially Ja Morant.
Matchup With Portland Is a Good One for Memphis
The Blazers have a clear size advantage over the Grizzlies. Other than that, I think the Grizzlies can run a few lineups that will give the Blazers some issues. While I am a fan of the size advantage over most teams that Portland will have with the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins to go along with Hassan Whiteside, the Grizzlies might be able to exploit it. Let's start with the versatility of the Grizzlies front court players. They can't bang on the inside like the guys in Portland but I think that Jarren Jackson Jr and Brandon Clarke have the ability to get up and down the floor in a way that the Portland front court players simply can't. The Grizzlies already play at one of the fastest paces in the league where they rank 7th in the league in that category.
I expect to see the Grizzlies use a few different small ball lineups where we see Jackson at the five and Kyle Anderson playing the four. We might even see Brandon Clarke play the five spot where he will run whatever Portland big man he is matched up with off the floor. If the Grizzlies need some toughness inside, they can lean on veteran Jonas Valanciunas. The former Raptor is a seven-year veteran with a ton of playoff experience which is a rare thing on this Memphis roster. He will not be physically intimidated by any of the Blazers' big men should Memphis need to go big. While the backcourt matchup of Damian Lillard against Ja Morant will get the headlines, this game will be won in the front court. Speaking of Lillard, it will be interesting to see how he looks as he recovers from a foot issue that has limited him so far.
In conclusion, I like the Grizzlies +135 at Bovada as my Moneyline Dog of the day. They need this win and I think that they come out looking to set the tone against a team that they need to beat. For Memphis, the playoffs essentially start now and I like them to get off on the right foot against a team that they need to beat in order to secure their playoff future.