Friday NBA Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for Grizzlies vs. Jazz: Back Utah as Home Favorite (March 26)
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell (left) and Rudy Gobert.
- Coming off a pair of blowout wins, the Utah Jazz host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday for the first of back-to-back matchup.
- Memphis has won three consecutive games, but face a Utah team that's sitting atop the Western Conference standings.
- Austin Wang breaks down the trends below that have led him to backing the dominant home side.
Grizzlies vs. Jazz Odds
|Moneyline||+400 / -550|
|Time||Friday, 9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Friday and via BetMGM|
On Friday evening, the league-best Utah Jazz host the Memphis Grizzlies in the first game of a two-game series.
The Jazz are coming off dominant wins over the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets. They were able to run away with each game early, limit their starters’ minutes and keep them fresh. The Jazz will hope to keep this momentum going in the second half of the season as they try to hold onto the top seed in the Western Conference with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers not far behind.
Even though the Grizzlies have not played a single game with forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and had to endure eight games without point guard Ja Morant, they are still above .500, currently sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference, making them eligible for the play-in tournament.
The Jazz are currently a heavy 10-point favorite and while it may seem expensive at first glance, I examine below why they are still a good bet to cover.
The Memphis Grizzlies have had a mediocre 2020-21 campaign thus far. Morant’s shooting numbers are down in his sophomore season (47.7% to 43.7% from the field, 33.5% to 22.9% from behind the arc).
The Grizzlies have won three straight games, all of which they covered as favorites against the Warriors (without Stephen Curry), Celtics (without Jayson Tatum) and Thunder (without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). That luck is about to run out against Utah, which hasn’t even had to use its starters much over the past two games.
Overall, the Grizzlies are still 24-17 (58.5%) against the spread (ATS), showing they are still outperforming market expectations. However, it is important to distinguish that they are 15-5 (75%) ATS as favorites and only 9-11 (45%) ATS as underdogs, per the Sports Data Query Language database. In fact, they’ve gone 0-5 ATS as road underdogs since a Feb. 2 game against the Indiana Pacers. Memphis might be taking care of business against inferior teams, but it is not getting it done against stiffer competition.
The Grizzlies’ most effective player is Jonas Valanciunas, who leads the team in PER (21.9) and Win Shares (3.6), according to Basketball Reference. However, Rudy Gobert will not be an ideal matchup for him over the next two nights.
De’Anthony Melton, one of the Grizzlies’ best perimeter defenders, simply does not get enough minutes. Head coach Taylor Jenkins continuing to start Grayson Allen and play him so many minutes over Melton continues to baffle me. These awful lineups limit a talented defender like Melton, who will be sorely needed to stop the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Jazz have been on the road quite a bit as of late, playing nine of their last 11 games on the road. Beginning with their last game against Brooklyn, they are now on a stretch where they will be playing 10 of 13 games in Salt Lake City. This is important because the Jazz are one of the few teams that still have a distinct homecourt advantage in the league, boasting a 15-4 (78.9%) home ATS record this season.
Since the 2017-2018 season, the Jazz are 53-40-2 (57%) ATS at home, per the SDQL database. Only the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks possess a better home ATS record than the Utah Jazz during this timeframe; however, I still consider the Jazz record more impressive since they are in the tougher Western Conference. This shows their dominance and edge on their homecourt.
In addition, during this timeframe, the Jazz are 49-32-2 (60.5%) ATS as a favorite of seven or more points, per the SDQL. They tend to take care of business and cover these large spreads (defined by using the key number of seven) with their balanced attack on both sides of the floor.
In an era of small ball and high-volume 3-point shooting, Gobert is proof that the big man is still relevant, having cemented himself as a frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year. He leads the league in Defensive Win Shares (3.0) and Defensive Rating (101.3), according to Basketball Reference, and is averaging a career-high 3.0 blocks per game. The On/Off numbers show that the Jazz’s Defensive Rating decreases by an astonishing 10.1 points when he is off the court.
The Jazz continue to bomb away 3-pointers, leading the league in 3-point attempt rate (49% of all field goal attempts) and ranking second in 3-point percentage (39.38%). I see them continuing to be successful against a Grizzlies team that is vulnerable to 3-pointer, ranked 24th in 3-point % allowed (35%).
I am backing the Jazz to cover this hefty spread, largely due to their success at home, the Grizzlies’ recent inability to perform as an underdog on the road and the matchup problems Utah presents for the Grizzlies. I expect Gobert to severely limit Valanciunas’ effectiveness, and I foresee the Jazz continuing their 3-pointer success and helping them to another comfortable win.
The Grizzlies are also playing their fifth game in seven nights, so I anticipate this fatigue will have an impact on their performance, especially later in the season and with these compressed schedules.
My initial numbers make the fair line on this game Jazz -10. I believe the situational aspects listed above make me confident in the Jazz covering this spread. My prediction is that Utah takes this one down, 119-105.
Pick: Jazz -10