Clippers vs. Grizzlies prediction: NBA odds, picks, best bets for Friday
The Memphis Grizzlies looked primed for a playoff push following Ja Morants return from a 25-game suspension.
Without Morant, the Grizzlies went just 6-19. But with Morant back on the team, they won six of their next nine games.
Unfortunately, Morant suffered a shoulder injury in practice thatll keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.
Nonetheless, the Grizzlies continue to show a bit of fight, winning back-to-back road games since Morants injury.
But Memphis is now down another critical player (Marcus Smart) with the Clippers coming to town.
Although Memphis is catching as many 8.5 points, the total might offer even better value in this matchup.
At 24-13, the Clippers trail the top seed in the Western Conference by two games.
Theyve had a steady climb in my power ratings and are now one of four teams ranked in the top ten of both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Whats interesting about the Clippers is there isnt one specific statistic they dominate offensively, whether inside the paint, shooting from the perimeter or even at the free-throw line.
Instead, Los Angeles tends to be average to above average in many categories. As a result, we might better understand the Clippers by starting with their defense.
Its with their defense that the Clippers can control games, particularly at home, where they allow 109 points compared to 115 on the road.
Thats a big reason why the Clippers are 16-4 at home vs. 8-9 on the road. There is some correlation here with their defense and the total in home games, which are 12-7-1 to the under.
However, the Clippers are malleable enough to cede control when playing on the road, and theyre more than capable of upping their tempo to match the opponent.
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers looks on during the second half of a game against the Toronto Raptors. Getty Images## Grizzlies analysis
Despite being one of the better defensive teams in the league, the Grizzlies tend to play faster than you might expect, as they rank 13th with 103.7 possessions per game.
If you look at their last three games during this winning streak, Memphis averaged 122.7 points.
Of course, two of those games were without Morant.
My assessment of the Grizzlies recent performance is that perhaps theres now a bit of finality with Morants injury.
In other words, his injury might remove any expectations of the Grizzlies mounting a playoff challenge.
Thus, its worth considering whether this is a sign of Memphis playing carefree basketball the rest of the way.
The Grizzlies did face quality opponents during this recent run with victories over the Lakers, Suns and Mavericks.
Itll be interesting to see if theres any carryover against a Clippers team that wont mind playing a bit faster.
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Clippers vs. Grizzlies pick
With so many high-scoring games this season, bookmakers have been aggressive with their opening totals. The first open I saw for this matchup was 227.5, which did seem a bit steep.
However, weve seen that number drop as low as 224, which might be too big of a correction.
According to our Action Labs database, in Grizzlies games this season, when an opening total of 227.5 or higher was bet down, the over is 8-5. This angle is currently on a 4-1 run to the over.
Thus, the contrarian angle is worth a look here, with the market possibly overreacting to the injury report and moving this total down into my buy zone.
Pick: Over 224 points (-105 at DraftKings)
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