Grizzlies vs. Trail Blazers Odds & Preview: Why to Ride Morant, Memphis on Road (October 27)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant.
- The Blazers are 2.5-point favorites over the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
- Ja Morant enters this game thriving next to Steven Adams, while Damian Lillard has yet to find his shooting stroke.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Grizzlies vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||-2.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds.|
The Blazers are reeling, coming off an embarrassing loss to the Clippers that saw star guard Damian Lillard’s struggles continue from beyond the arc. Portland’s confidence-building first win over the Suns on Saturday seems so far away.
Now, Chauncey Billups’ crew will try to right the ship with a win over the Grizzlies, who also enter off a loss.
Is there value here on the road underdog against a team that just can’t seem to get it right? Let’s dive into this matchup.
Morant Excelling Early On
The Blazers may be experiencing issues with their star, but there’s nothing wrong with the way Ja Morant is playing at the moment.
Memphis’ lead man dropped 40 points in a loss to the Lakers over the weekend and for the season is averaging 35 points and eight assists on 44.4% shooting from 3-point land. Morant has truly been one of the best players in the league to this point.
Speaking of the best in the league, no one has collected more available rebounds than the Grizzlies, who own the league’s best rebounding rate at 56%. It seems the addition of Steven Adams has paid dividends in that regard, considering he almost single-handedly led the Pelicans to the top of the leaderboard in rebounding a year ago.
Not only did Adams post a 26.8% rebounding rate in the loss to the Lakers, but he also recorded an assist rate of 24.4%. He’s truly lent a helping hand to this point.
On the whole, rebounding (offensive rebounding in particular) and limiting turnovers have probably been the two things the Grizzlies have done best this year. It’s a stark contrast to their opponents on Wednesday, who have been careless with the ball.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Grizzlies had the league’s most efficient offense through three games, due in large part to the dominance of Morant and the extra chances they have earned on the glass.
Lillard Struggling To Find Shot
The first thing we need to address here is the Blazers’ play at home. A season ago, it was terrible. Portland was just 16-23 against the spread (ATS) at the Moda Center, and so far this year are 1-1 ATS at home. So while in theory it sounds nice to return home after a brutalizing defeat, it may not offer as much help as you’d think.
Let’s talk about Portland’s last outing. The Trail Blazers lost by 30 points on Monday to the Clippers in L.A., a game during which they turned the ball over at a 24.4% clip.
Scoring was also very difficult for Portland, who posted just a 42.4% effective field goal percentage and shot just 21.6% from 3-point land. This wasn’t made any better by the fact that Lillard didn’t hit a single one of his 3-point attempts, and is now shooting 8.3% from beyond the arc this year. That’s right — he’s made just two of 24 attempts from deep.
It won’t be any easier against Morant and Memphis, who were exceptional on defense last year and had a decent 3-point defense. With that said, Memphis ranks among the worst 3-point defenses this year, offering a glimmer of hope.
Things have been good on the rebounding front, at least. Portland is fifth in the league so far, grabbing 52.8% of available boards, and in that loss to Phoenix they did post an exceptional 15.6% offensive rebounding rate.
Grizzlies-Trail Blazers Pick
Though the Blazers should be able to challenge the Grizzlies on the glass, I’m not sure there is any team that can successfully slow Memphis in the rebounding department. Adams should be there all night long to get the ball back to this efficient offense, and the paint should be a difficult place for Portland to score.
With the paint unavailable, it’s going to come down to how well the Blazers can shoot, and I’m not sure it’s fair to expect a magical turnaround given how good Memphis is on defense. I’m also very concerned about the turnover differential here and think the Grizzlies can possess the ball far more than their opposition.
Pick: Grizzlies +2.5 (-110)