The 2021 NBA Playoffs betting action continues Wednesday, May 26, with Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round series between the No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies and the top-seeded Utah Jazz. The Grizzlies took the first blood, stunning the Jazz as 8-point road underdogs, 112-109, so we’re expecting another hard-fought battle in the second game of the series.
Utah opens as an 8.5-point home fave for Wednesday’s clash, according to William Hill Sportsbook. Memphis is a +335 moneyline dog, while the totals are set at 217.5 points.
The Grizzlies worked hard to deserve their win in Game 1
The Memphis Grizzlies nearly blew a 17-point lead in the opener this past Sunday but fully deserved to come on top after holding the Jazz to just 42.0% shooting from the field and 25.5% from downtown. Also, the Grizzlies turned the ball over only nine times while handing out 18 assists.
Memphis didn’t have a great shooting night, making 45.0% of its field goals and 35.0% of its 3-pointers (7-for-20), but the Grizzlies posted 16 offensive rebounds, controlling the glass for most of the game. Simply put, they outplayed the Jazz to earn their first win over Utah since November 2019.
Dillon Brooks led the way for Memphis in Game 1, accounting for 31 points and seven rebounds to go with a couple of steals and blocks. Ja Morant had 26 points and four assists, while Jonas Valanciunas did a terrific job in the paint and finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds (six on the offensive glass).
The Jazz need to get things going offensively and make some treys
Apparently, Donovan Mitchell was furious for being held out of the Game 1 loss to the Grizzlies. The two-time All-Star missed the last 17 games due to an ankle injury, but he’ll return Wednesday and shouldn’t be on any restrictions. In 53 regular-season outings, Mitchell averaged 26.4 points and 5.2 assists per game.
The Jazz went 12-for-47 from beyond the 3-point line in Game 1, and that was the key factor in their failure. Utah led the NBA in triples made per game this past regular season (16.7) while shooting 38.9% from deep (4th in the league).
Donovan Mitchell’s return will help the Jazz on both sides of the ball. The Jazz entered the 2021 NBA Playoffs with the best regular-season record, tallying 117.6 points per 100 possessions (3rd) and yielding 108.3 in a return (4th).
- 2-4 ATS in the last six games overall
- 6-11 ATS in the last 17 playoff games
The Jazz dominated the Grizzlies this past regular season and swept a three-game series while going 1-2 ATS in the process. Utah is 6-1 straight up and 4-3 ATS in its last seven encounters with Memphis, and I’m expecting the Jazz to extend their dominance and tie the series Wednesday at home.
However, I don’t feel comfortable with an 8.5-point spread. The Jazz are 15-5 straight up and just 10-10 ATS in their last 20 outings as favorites of eight or more points. Therefore, I would buy a few points and settle down with lower wages.
Utah is in a must-win situation, and the Jazz certainly possess enough firepower to beat the Grizzlies who could still keep it close easily which means in single digits. I think Utah’s defense will make the difference down the stretch, so give me the hosts as 5.5-point favorites.
Pick: Take Utah Jazz -5.5 at -185
The opening game of this series went in the over of a 216.5-point line. Five of the last six encounters between the Grizzlies and Jazz went in the over, and I would stick with this betting trend even though both teams play some tough defense.
As I’ve mentioned, the Jazz lean on their 3-point shooting, taking a whopping 43.0 attempts from deep per game. They average 98.5 possessions per 48 minutes (18th in the league), while the Grizzlies record 100.4 (8th).
Pick: Go over 217.5 points at -110