Western Conference NBA Picks: Take 'Under' In Slow-Paced Grizzlies & Nuggests Affair

Charles Stark

Thursday, January 21, 2016 1:29 PM GMT

Two teams starting to show signs of life meet when the Nuggets host the Grizzlies. NBA odds have the total rather low and we might take advantage of that for our NBA picks.

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Free NBA Pick: Under 194½
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

NBA Odds Overview
NBA odds boards have the total for this game set at 194.5 like at Pinnacle -105. This is definitely not your father's Denver team and Mike Malone has brought a more controlled tempo oriented style to the Rockies. Memphis doesn't push tempo either and both play enough defense, at least pace and matchup wise, to have me back the under as one of my NBA picks today.

 

Memphis Grizzles
Memphis is averaging 96.3 points per game while shooting 43.2% from the field, and allowing 98.7 points per game on 44.9% shooting from the field. This season they are right at 50% on their over/under totals going 21-21-1 overall and 7-13 on the road. This is your typical Memphis Grizzlies team, one that lays their foundation on defense and great interior play. Offensively, they rank 27th in points per game and in the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. Memphis only averages 32.9% shooting from beyond the arc which ranks 25th in the NBA, and 46% on their two point shooting which ranks 28th. As mentioned, they control tempo as much as possible only averaging 81.8 field goal attempts per game and making just 35.4 of those shots which ranks second to last in the league. Conversely on the defensive side, they are one of the better defenses in the league, but that has a little bit to do with the fact of how well they control the tempo. They still allow opponents to shoot 36.3% from beyond the arc which ranks in the bottom part of the league and their overall opponent shooting efficiency and opponent effective field-goal percentages also ranks towards the bottom. Because of their tempo though they allow just 78.2 opponent field-goal attempts per game which ranks first in the league with opponents making just 35.1 of those shots which ranks second. On top of all this, you know with Memphis they will do what they can to dominate the interior, which they do allowing just 37 opponent points in the paint which ranks first in the NBA.

 

Denver Nuggets
Denver is averaging 99.4 points per game while shooting 43.2% from the field, and allowing 103.5 points per game on 46.2% shooting from the field. This year Denver is 23-18-1 overall on their over/under totals and 13-7-1 at home. Offensively, they really don't have much and rank in the bottom part of the league in most offensive categories. They do average 43.3 points in the paint per game which ranks 12th in the NBA, but as mentioned above points won't come easy for them tonight against the league's best defense in that area. They don't get up and down the floor pushing the pace attempting just 85.1 field goals per game, and on the other end allowing just 83 per game. Defensively, they don't do anything particularly well, but rank in the middle of the league in opponent points in the paint, and opponent field goals made per game. Denver also allows opponents to shoot 38.1% from beyond the arc which ranks dead last in the league. However, they are facing one of the worst three point shooting teams in Memphis so this shouldn't be much of an issue for them tonight.

Unfortunately, I think this sets up to be a pretty boring game, but fortunately, that puts some value on backing under the total. With the way Memphis runs their offense to how well they play defense in proportion to Denver style of play, I simply don't see a lot of points being scored tonight. For one of your NBA picks, I recommend backing under the total in what should be the least exciting game of the night.