Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
In an interesting contrast in styles Thursday night, look for the home team to win the Pace War and slow down the tempo when the Sacramento Kings (5-3, 3-2 away) pay a visit to those Memphis Grizzles (7-1, 3-0 home) at FedExForum in Memphis, TN at 8:05 ET in a game available on SportSouth.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 191½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.
Lost Two in a Row since Five-Game Win Streak
The Kings had their longest winning streak since 2007 with five straight triumphs following an opening night defeat at home vs. the Golden State Warriors, with three of those five wins coming on the road. However they have since lost two straight at Oklahoma City on Sunday and most recently at Dallas on Tuesday when they squandered an early 20-point lead less than nine minutes into the contest and eventually lost by eight 106-98.
The Grizzlies meanwhile have been losing NBA picks only once in eight games so far this season and that loss was by just one point at Milwaukee vs. the Bucks last Saturday. Memphis bounced back from that loss by beating the awful Lakers in Los Angeles and now returns home to FedExForum where it is 3-0 with an average winning margin of +7.0 points.
Surprising Kings Love to Run
The Kings have been a pleasant surprise in the early going despite the latest back-to-back defeats and they have done it while playing an exciting brand of basketball that has them averaging 103.0 points per game while simultaneously surrendering 101.8 points per contest! And surprisingly, Sacramento is only ranked 16th in the NBA in offensive efficiency through the early going at 103.1 points per 100 possessions.
So how can a team rank 16th in efficiency and still average 103 points like the Kings have? Well, the answer is that Sacramento is all about pace and relying on a high volume of shots, averaging nearly 100 possessions per game. However, the Kings are 20th in field goal percentage at 43.9 percent. That means that it is tough for the Kings to approach their scoring average when facing teams that are capable of slowing the pace and the Grizzlies are certainly of that ilk.
Plodding Grizzlies Slow the Pace
The Grizzlies finished third in the NBA in points against last season (but first among Western Conference teams) at 94.6 per game allowed over the entire season and they currently lead the entire NBA this year through eight games permitting just 89.4 points per contest while ranking seventh in field goal percentage allowed at 43.4 percent, suggesting that the Memphis defense would perform admirably even if the offense played at a more “normal” pace.
Offensively, the Grizzlies finished 27th in scoring last season with 96.1 points per game despite ranking seventh in the league in field goal percentage overall, and this year they are 24th in scoring with only 94.8 per game despite sitting just outside of the top 10 in 11th in three-point shooting percentage.
So why does Memphis usually rank so low in scoring while not shooting poorly from the floor? Again it all comes down to pace and after the Grizzlies finished 29th out of 30 NBA teams in Pace Rating in their final season under former head coach Lionel Hollins two years ago, they did not change their style in their first season under David Joerger finishing dead last in that category in 2013-14 and they are currently 25th in pace in the early going this season.
And the Grizzlies would not have it any other way as that plodding pace has enabled them to become one of just five NBA teams to make the playoffs the last four years in a row.
Four Straight ‘unders’ Head-to-Head
And the Grizzlies have won the Tempo War each of the last four times these clubs have met regardless of the venue as the ‘under’ is a perfect 4-0 in those matchups with the games averaging a scant 182.0 total points combined and neither team reaching 100 points in any of those four meetings.
Expect more of the same in this contest so look for an ‘under’ when Sacramento pays a visit to Memphis on Thursday.
NBA Pick: Kings, Grizzlies ‘under’ 191½ (-105)