Grizzlies vs Nuggets Picks, Prediction Today | Thursday, Dec. 28

Grizzlies vs Nuggets Picks, Prediction Today | Thursday, Dec. 28 article feature image

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies and Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks on on March 3, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Prediction, Picks for Thursday, Dec. 28

Thursday, Dec. 28
9 p.m.
League Pass
Nuggets Team Total Under 116.5 Points

Here's everything you need to know about Grizzlies vs. Nuggets on Thursday, Dec. 28 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Denver Nuggets host the Memphis Grizzlies in a battle between two teams with the longest current winning streaks in the NBA. The Nuggets made it five straight wins with a 120-114 victory over the Warriors on Christmas Day, while the Grizzlies needed overtime on Tuesday to get past the Pelicans (116-115) for a fourth consecutive win.

Memphis can largely credit this recent run to the return of its superstar point guard, Ja Morant. He has averaged 28.8 points, 8.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds through four games.

However, a non-COVID illness could impact Morant's status for Thursday night, as he's currently listed as a game-time decision. In this preview, I'll share how bettors can attack this game even with Morant's uncertain status.

Let's get to our Grizzlies vs. Nuggets prediction and pick.

Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Prediction

Pick: Nuggets Team Total Under 116.5 Points

Morant's Status Uncertain for Grizzlies

Morant's return certainly gives Memphis a bit more respect from the bookmakers. Over the past few games, I've already seen an adjustment in the Grizzlies' power rating based on where I'd expect this point spread to land if Morant was still away from the team.

Without Morant, Memphis would be closer to a double-digit road dog, but with Morant back from suspension, Memphis opened as a six-point underdog.

That number seems about right if we assume Morant's value to the spread is probably worth around four points. Hence, when you start seeing this spread tick up to 7.5, one can't help but think that the movement is directly related to Morant's status for the game.

If anything, it confirms the doubt surrounding his availability for tonight.

It would be foolhardy to commit to either side in this matchup without confirmation of Morant's status. However, with or without Morant, I'd expect the same commitment from the Grizzlies on defense.

Nuggets Thrive by Slowing Pace

After finishing second in Defensive Efficiency last season, the Grizzlies currently sit seventh, according to TeamRankings, as they are allowing 108.5 points per 100 possessions. Memphis does a tremendous job patrolling the inside paint defensively with Jaren Jackson Jr. (1.7 blocks per game) and Bismack Biyombo (1.1 blocks per game).

Both players have helped the Grizzlies allow the fewest points in the paint by opponents (44 per game).

Where Memphis can be vulnerable is on the perimeter. The Grizzlies rank 21st in opponent 3-point attempts (36.6 per game) and 27th in opponent 3-point field goals (14.1 per game).

The potential good news for Grizzlies fans is the Nuggets aren't one of those trigger-happy perimeter teams. Denver ranks 25th in 3-point attempts (31.3 per game) and 23rd in 3-point field goals (11.8 per game).

Much of what the Nuggets do well is their ability to control the game at their own pace.

Denver prioritizes ball movement, even if it means passing up a good shot to get to an even better one. This is why the Nuggets rank 29th in Tempo with 100.4 possessions per game.

Denver is more of an inside-out team when Nikola Jokic isn't bringing the ball up the court. Thus, it should be no surprise that Denver ranks fifth in points in the paint with 54.9 per game.

However, the interior matchup plays to some of Memphis' strengths.

Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Picks, Odds

Thursday, Dec. 28
9 p.m. ET
League Pass
Grizzlies Odds
Nuggets Odds
Odds via DraftKings . Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

While Morant's availability can undoubtedly impact the scoring in this game, I don't expect the Grizzlies to alter their defensive philosophy. When you look at the Grizzlies defense this season along with Denver's methodical approach on offense, it's no wonder both teams are a combined 37-23-1 to the under.

Moreover, if you look at the past 10 head-to-head meetings, the under is 8-2.

Bet Grizzlies vs Nuggets at bet365 with our bet365 bonus code.

After running the numbers, my model projects Denver to score 114 or fewer points. At bet365, you can grab the Nuggets to stay under their team total of 116.5 points with -115 odds.

Pick: Nuggets Team Total Under 116.5 Points (-115)

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Sean Treppedi
May 23, 2024 UTC