Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Value on the Road Underdogs (January 18)

Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies Odds, Expert Pick, Prediction: Value on the Road Underdogs (January 18) article feature image

David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured:Darius Garland #10 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • The Grizzlies are heavy home favorites on Wednesday night against the Cavaliers.
  • The Cavs may be without Donovan Mitchell, but can they still potentially keep it close on the road without him?
  • Joe Dellera breaks down the matchup and makes a betting pick below.

Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies Odds

Cavaliers Odds+240
Grizzlies Odds-295
Time8 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Cavaliers head to Memphis to take on the red-hot Grizzlies, who are winners of 10 consecutive games as they have risen in the Western Conference Standings.

Can the Cavaliers put up a fight and snap this winning streak in a game they likely will be without Donovan Mitchell? Find a betting preview for Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies below.

Can the Cavaliers Survive Without Mitchell?

The Cavaliers have listed Donovan Mitchell on the injury report as doubtful after he suffered a groin injury in the Cavs' last game against the Pelicans.

Considering the downgrade, I think we need to consider this contest as if the Cavaliers will be without him. Darius Garland is the player who naturally benefits the most from his absence, and Garland has seen his Usage Rate rise roughly 4% without Mitchell.

I'm monitoring Kevin Love's prop lines today because in three games this season without Mitchell, Love has averaged 15 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 25.5 minutes per game. That's a significant uptick in both points and assists from his season averages of 8.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 20.1 minutes with Mitchell. Look for points and assists lines along with 3s because he takes about one more attempt per game as the Cavs look for additional scoring.

The Cavaliers have been excellent this season, but one of the surprising advanced stats is that Donovan Mitchell has a -0.3 Point Differential on the season, per Cleaning the Glass. I found this to be genuinely stunning because he has dramatically improved the team's offense, even though his defense is a bit lacking–but that's to be expected.

However, when you dive under the hood a bit more on Mitchell, he's one of the top players in the league in Estimated Plus-Minus. There, he has a +5.2, which is in the 97th percentile of all players, and EPM is a more reliable method for determining a player's value, per DunksandThrees.

All that is to say, this Cavaliers team is tough, but without Mitchell as their primary scoring option, it's likely that they have some difficulties on the offensive side of the ball and will rely on their strong interior defense.

The Cavaliers have the second-best Adjusted Defensive Rating (109.4). They do a good job of limiting 3-point opportunities and funnel some offense into the interior because of Jarrett Allen and Even Mobley defending the paint. As a result, they allow the third-fewest points in the paint per game (45.8). Even after accounting for them playing at the slowest Pace in the league, they are a top-five team in points allowed in the paint per 100 possessions, per NBA Advanced Stats.

Grizzlies Have Dominated Inferior Teams Lately

The Grizzlies have been cooking lately as they look to stretch their winning streak to 11 games tonight. They are nearly 100% healthy and are eviscerating their competition over this stretch with a +16.5 Point Differential and Offensive and Defensive Ratings in the top three, per Cleaning the Glass.

While you need to play the competition in front of you, this is a bit inflated. The Grizzlies have defeated the Suns (twice), Raptors, Pelicans, Kings, Hornets, Magic, Jazz, Spurs (twice) and Pacers during this stretch.

The Suns are an actual dumpster fire right now, the Pacers were without Tyrese Haliburton, and the Spurs just have little interest in anything outside of winning the ping-pong ball battle in the lottery. The two impressive wins were against the Pelicans and the Kings on a back-to-back over New Years' Eve and Day.

During this stretch, the Grizzlies are scoring 51.9% of their points in the paint for 65 points in the paint per game, which is 12.4 points more than the Nuggets, who are second over this stretch. This Cavaliers' defense will certainly test them in the paint, unlike their opponents across that 10-game winning streak.

Cavaliers-Grizzlies Pick

Despite the Cavaliers likely being without Mitchell tonight, I think they can play this Grizzlies team close. Both teams have been excellent on the defensive side of the ball, but the Cavaliers' offense will be fine in Garland's hands, and now they have Ricky Rubio to facilitate when Garland takes a seat.

This spread is inflated due to the Grizzlies' recent play and the anticipation of Mitchell being out. Grab the points with the road dog and expect them to put up a fight in the paint.

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 22, 2024 UTC