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Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Odds, Pick, Prediction: Injuries Key in this Matchup

Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Odds, Pick, Prediction: Injuries Key in this Matchup article feature image
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Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies

  • Denver hosts Memphis in a Western Conference showdown.
  • Despite both teams' success, the first-place Grizzlies have really stepped up defensively with the return of Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • Below, Joe Dellera explains how those defensive considerations are guiding his bet for this game.

Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Odds

Grizzlies Odds -115
Nuggets Odds -105
Over/Under 234 (-110 / -110)
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Grizzlies and Nuggets face off in a contest between two of the Western Conference‘s best teams.

Can Ja Morant lead his Grizzlies to victory, or will Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets take the top spot in the West?

Let’s break it down.

Memphis Grizzlies Get Balance with JJJ

The Grizzlies remain without Desmond Bane (toe), but the team has played admirably in his absence and sits atop the Western Conference with a 19-10 record. What has been most impressive from the Grizzlies is their defense. They have the fourth-best Adjusted Defensive Rating (109.8), which has propelled them to the fifth-best Adjusted Net Rating (+4.3).

While their defense has been excellent, the Grizzlies’ offense is solid as well. They are 10th in Adjusted Offensive Rating. Their defense is what ignites their offense. One of their biggest strengths with Morant at the helm is their transition offense. They are getting out in transition on 16.9% of their possessions which is the fifth-highest frequency in the league and they are scoring 4 more points per 100 possessions by this type of offensive attack (fourth-most added), per Cleaning the Glass.

With the return of “JJJ,” Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies have been able to play at a far superior level on both sides of the ball. He has a +10.6 point differential and has been positive on both sides of the ball. His defensive impact cannot be understated. His uncanny shot-blocking ability coupled with his ability to defend both on the interior and on the perimeter create mismatches for opposing teams, and it’s a primary reason he is entrenched in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.


Defense a Liability for Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets’ injury report is significant. They have listed the following players on it: Nikola Jokic (knee – probable), Jamal Murray (injury management – questionable), Michael Porter Jr. (heel – doubtful), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (leg – questionable) and Jeff Green (back – questionable).

Obviously, there are layers to this report. If Jokic is out, this team is bad, and I would consider betting against them at nearly any number; he is worth 5 points to the spread.

As for Murray, if he misses, which is not unlikely considering the Nuggets’ next game is not until Friday, Bones Hyland would likely enter the starting lineup, and Ish Smith would return to the rotation. Bones has improved this season, but Murray has been excellent this year while showing flashes of brilliance as he returns from injury. The player that should see the biggest uptick without Murray is likely Aaron Gordon, who gets a bit more usage in his absence.

While the Nuggets can score on quite literally anyone with Jokic at the helm, they have been abysmal on the defensive side of the ball. The Nuggets’ have the third-worst Adjusted Defensive Rating (115.6), and this essentially cancels out their fifth-best Adjusted Offensive Rating (115.8). The defense simply cannot keep up with the offense. This is a major reason why Denver has struggled against the league’s best teams that are able to capitalize on defensive mistakes.

On the season, the Nuggets are 2-4 (-12 points per 100) against the league’s top 10 Teams in point differential, per Cleaning the Glass.

Grizzlies-Nuggets Pick

If the Nuggets were fully healthy, this would be a more compelling matchup. Currently, the Grizzlies are not only in better health, but they have performed well against the league’s top teams.

While both teams may be able to score, I trust the Grizzlies’ defense to generate enough stops to help the offense get out in transition against this porous Denver defense.

This line has already swung from the open, but I think there is still value with the Grizzlies and I’ll back them to win on the road.

Pick: Grizzlies (-115 at DraftKings) | Bet up to -2

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