NBA Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Final Day of Regular Season, Including Warriors vs. Grizzlies & Heat vs. Pistons (Sunday, May 16)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Erik Spoelstra and Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat.
- The final day of the NBA regular season features a full slate with a lot of playoff implications.
- The play-in tournament has added a new wrinkle to the NBA playoffs, which gives certain matchups unique importance.
- Our team of NBA analysts have found three picks from which bettors can find value to close the regular season.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Butler has been ruled out Sunday. For more updated injury news, check out our NBA Insiders tool.
It’s finally here: the final day of the NBA regular season.
Only three of the 20 playoff seeds are set in stone entering the final day of the 2020-21 season and as The Action Network’s Matt Moore laid out, anything can happen. Some teams might actually be more interested in losing on Sunday than winning to help their playoff chances.
Our team of NBA analysts has been helping bettors win all season, and they’re here to close the regular season with a bang with three best bets from two games.
NBA Odds & Picks
Warriors at Grizzlies
Raheem Palmer: The playoffs historically have lower-scoring games than the regular season. You see tougher defense, slower paced games with a reduced rotation.
Today’s game between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies is essentially a playoff game between two teams who rank in the top 10 in defensive efficiency — the Warriors rank fifth (110.6) and Grizzlies ninth (111.7).
The winner of this game will capture the eighth seed in the Western Conference, which means it would only have to win one game in the play-in tournament to get to a playoff series, so we’re likely to see both of these teams go all out.
These two teams have already met twice this season, splitting a two-game series back in March that finished with final scores of 116-103 and 111-103. Stephen Curry, who is the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.8 points per game, didn’t play in either game, but it does speak to the fact that the Warriors were able to hold down this Grizzlies team offensively with Offensive Ratings of 100.6 and 105.6 in their two games.
Memphis’ offense is heavily reliant on midrange jumpers and floaters, an area of the floor where the Warriors are solid at defending. Golden State’s opponents this season have shot 41.5% in that area, which is ninth among NBA teams. Neither of these teams are particularly scary offensively, with the Grizzlies ranking 14th in Offensive Rating (112.5) in their non-garbage-time minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass, while the Warriors are 22nd (110.8) despite the presence of Curry.
Golden State is reliant on the 3-ball and everyone outside of Curry is questionable in regards to their reliability in a game of this magnitude. The Warriors have shot 40.4% of their field-goal attempts from behind the arc but if the 3-ball isn’t falling from anyone outside of Curry, I’m not seeing a huge offensive output. I think this is a tough game that goes under the total.
Warriors at Grizzlies
Matthew Trebby: Both Golden State and Memphis are 7-3 in their last 10 games, a span during which the Warriors rank 12th in Offensive Rating while the Grizzlies sit 14th. The Warriors are playing at the eighth-fastest pace over their last 10, while Memphis sits 16th in the NBA.
The Warriors have covered each of their last five games and have plenty of big-game experience. I’m sure Curry didn’t lose any sleep in anticipation of this one. Golden State has covered each of its last five games, while Memphis has done so just once in its last four.
The Warriors might not be the same team that was winning title after title a few years ago, but I’m backing them in an important game over an inexperienced Memphis team, especially at just -4. Play this up to -5.
Magic at 76ers & Heat at Pistons
Every NBA team is playing today and while everyone else is focused on the playoff picture with 17 of the 20 seeds up for grabs, I’ve got an eye on the top of the lottery odds where things can still shuffle too.
The Houston Rockets have locked up the top spot in the lottery, regardless of what happens today, but the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic are next in line and both badly need a loss to secure their position in the standings. Other than the Rockets, these are the two teams that have been flagrantly tanking as much as any year in the NBA. These are the teams I trust to absolutely make sure they find a way to lose today, no matter what.
Do Philadelphia or even Miami need to win? Philadelphia has nothing to play for, and Miami might be content to sit in the six seed if they so choose. But there is a big difference between not caring if you win or lose against absolutely doing everything you can to make sure your franchise loses and get itself in position to draft a franchise altering superstar in a couple months.
We’re going to see guys you’ve never heard of hoisting shots for Houston and Orlando, and they will make sure they find a way to get the “L.”
Today, I will trust the teams I am absolutely certain of their motivations and trust them to get the loss they need. That means trusting Philadelphia and Miami to get a win somehow someway and at even odds, I like the way this one feels no matter which 76ers and Heat stars end up sitting out.