The Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies lock horns for the first time this season on Friday night, so here’s the best betting pick for their Western Conference showdown at FedExForum in Memphis along with the all-important betting tips and trends.
The Nuggets opened as slight 2.5-point road favorites on BetRivers Sportsbook. They miss Paul Millsap and Gary Harris due to injuries, while JaMychal Green and Facundo Campazzo are both questionable to play Friday. On the other side, the Grizzlies are without Jaren Jackson Jr. and Grayson Allen.
Denver looks to stay on the winning path following an All-Star break
The Denver Nuggets (21-15; 17-19 ATS) are riding a four-game winning streak, and all those four victories came on the road. They beat OKC, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indiana, while covering the spread on all four occasions including a spectacular 128-97 victory over the Bucks as 8-point underdogs.
The Nuggets are sixth in the West, a couple of games behind the fourth-seeded LA Clippers, and 2.5 games ahead of ninth-placed Grizzlies and Warriors. They rank fourth in the NBA in points scored per 100 possessions (117.5) and 14th in points allowed per 100 possessions (112.1).
Denver is one of the most efficient teams in the league. The Nuggets make 48.8% of their field goals (2nd in the NBA) and 38.7% of their 3-pointers (5th) while handing out 26.7 assists per 100 possessions (6th). Still, the Nuggets’ defense is a big problem, especially with Paul Millsap and Gary Harris both at the shelf.
Memphis thrashed off Washington to open the second half of the season
The Memphis Grizzlies (17-16; 18-14-1 ATS) are coming off a comfortable 127-112 home victory over the Washington Wizards this past Wednesday. Jonas Valanciunas posted a 29-point, 20-rebound double-double, while Ja Morant added 21 points, ten assists, and six boards.
The Grizzlies shot 50.5% from the field and netted a ridiculous 78 points in the paint. They had no problems dealing with Washington’s leaky defense, tallying their second win over the Wizards this month. Memphis has won three of its previous four contests along with a narrow 112-111 home loss to Milwaukee.
At the moment, the Grizzlies are tied with Golden State for the ninth seed in the crowded West. They score 110.9 points per 100 possessions (19th in the NBA) on 46.5% shooting from the field (15th) and surrender 109.7 points in a return (7th) on 47.0% shooting from the field (20th).
- 2-5-1 ATS in the last eight games against Memphis
- 9-21 ATS in the last 30 road games against the Southwest Division
- 5-1 ATS in the last six games overall
- 5-2 ATS in the last seven home contests
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games against the Northwest Division
The Grizzlies lead the NBA in points scored in the paint (55.9 per game). I’m expecting them to exploit the Nuggets’ interior defense and attack the rim all night long. Of course, they will have a difficult task on the other side of the ball, but I think the Grizzlies will keep it close.
Memphis plays aggressive defense, forcing the second-most turnovers per 100 possessions (16.3). If they stay patient on the offensive end, the Nuggets will be in trouble.
Pick: Take Memphis Grizzlies +4.5 at -140
The betting trends suggest the under, though I don’t think we’ll see a typical low-scoring affair. Denver plays at the third-slowest pace in the NBA, recording 97.7 possessions per 48 minutes, but the Nuggets execute very well offensively. Memphis records 100.7 possessions per 48 minutes (7th), and the hosts will certainly try to speed up things from time to time.
The under is 8-3 in the last seven meetings between Denver and Memphis. Only two of their last 20 encounters produced more than 226 points in total. Also, the under has hit in six of Memphis’s last seven games and four of Denver’s previous six. Still, the Grizzlies remain my top pick here.
Pick: Go under 226.5 points at -110