Thursday NBA Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions: Bucks vs. Grizzlies Preview (Aug. 13)
David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- The Grizzlies are a short favorite over the Bucks on Thursday, needing a win to have a shot to qualify for the Western Conference play-in game.
- Raheem Palmer is fading Memphis in this must-win situation, believing the market has gone overboard, even with Giannis Antetokounmpo suspended for Milwaukee.
- Get his full breakdown for Grizzlies vs. Bucks below.
Bucks vs. Grizzlies Betting Odds & Picks
|Bucks odds||+1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Grizzlies odds||-1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+102/-121 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||230.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
It’s do or die for the Memphis Grizzlies.
After previously holding the eighth spot in the West standings, they’ve gone 1-6 since the restart of the season and now find themselves on the outside looking in of the Western conference playoffs. They currently sit in the ninth spot tied with Phoenix Suns and have to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Fortunately for the Grizzlies, they caught a break when Giannis Antetokounmpo was suspended for Thursday afternoon’s matchup after head butting Wizards forward Mo Wagner. Nonetheless, the Grizzlies still find themselves in an uphill battle as they need to beat the best team in the NBA just to make the play-in game out West.
The Bucks wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and have nothing to play for. They’ve been coasting throughout this restart and still boast the fifth-ranked offensive rating, scoring 111.3 points per 100 possessions.
Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews, Donte DiVincenzo all sat in Tuesday’s matchup vs. the Washington Wizards and the Bucks still handled them with ease. Along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is suspended, Wesley Matthews and Ersan Ilyasova will be sitting in today’s matchup.
For the Grizzlies, the bubble has been one long episode of Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
The Grizzlies opened the restart by blowing an 11-point second-half lead to the Portland Trailblazers (that could have all but clinched the No. 8 seed) then followed that up with last second loss to the San Antonio Spurs on two DeMar DeRozan free throws. In back-to-back games the Grizz have been blown out by two East contenders, the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, who had nothing to play for but still ran their starters.
Then injuries started piling up.
Tyus Jones injured his knee in practice and hasn’t played a minute of action during the restart. Jaren Jackson Jr., one of the bright spots for the Grizzlies who can stretch the floor for them, went down with a knee injury as well. He was shooting 39.4% from 3-point range on six attempts per game before tearing his meniscus. The Grizzlies are currently shooting 30.6% from deep, which ranks 21st in the bubble.
The Grizzlies rank 16th in net rating (-2.9) largely because they have the seventh-best defense in the bubble, giving up 109.8 points per 100 possessions. Although the defense has been their strong point, they’ve been torched by opposing team’s 3-point shooting. Teams are shooting 38.9% against the Grizzlies since the restart.
Their offense has also failed them as they rank 18th in the bubble scoring 107.0 points per 100 possessions.
According to Cleaning the Glass, the Memphis Grizzlies would be expected to win 2.7 during this restart based on their efficiency metrics. They’ve won ONE game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I personally like to fade teams in must-win games because I believe the market rarely prices them properly. In these spots, I like to wait for the public money to come in and get the best price I can on the opposing team. My logic has always been that if a team finds itself in a must-win game, they’re not very good. Typically that means there’s value on the OTHER side.
Oddsmakers opened this line at Bucks -5 and it has since been bet down to Bucks +1. With a full strength Bucks team and Antetokounmpo in the lineup, this line would be double-digits. Giannis is certainly worth an upwards of five points to the spread, but at some point, you have to ask, what is a fair adjustment on this particular game?
It’s important to note, Grizzlies head coach Tyler Jenkins worked as an assistant for the Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer last season. You have to wonder if Budenholzer would do one of his assistants a favor by benching many of his team’s best players.
However, Eric Bledsoe is still being reintegrated after a bout with COVID-19. DiVincenzo is still looking to find his rhythm as well. I expect some of the Bucks starters outside of Antetokounmpo and Matthews to receive playing time today.
The Bucks may have nothing to play for, but I still believe they’re still the better team. At the current line of +1.5, it’s Bucks or pass; there’s no value laying -1.5 with a struggling Grizzlies team in a must win spot. If you’re looking for a solid contrarian play today, the Bucks are your answer.
The PICK: Milwaukee Bucks ML (+102)