NBA Expert Betting Picks (Saturday, Feb. 29): Our Best Bets for Lakers-Grizzlies, Rockets-Celtics
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant
- Our experts are investing in two matchups on Saturday's eight-game NBA slate, focusing on Rockets-Celtics and Lakers-Grizzlies.
- Will the Rockets compile another standout performance against a top opponent? Or should you focus on the total?
- See our experts full betting analysis below.
The Rockets head to Boston for a primetime showdown with the Celtics while the Lakers face Ja Morant and the Grizzlies on a loaded eight-game slate for Saturday night. Our staff has focused on the following games:
- Lakers at Grizzlies (8 p.m. ET)
- Rockets at Celtics (8:30 p.m. ET)
Brandon Anderson: Lakers at Grizzlies
- Spread: Lakers -8
- Over/Under: 228
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Grizzlies may have gone into hibernation already. Since the All Star Break, Memphis is 0-5, failing to cover all five games. Suddenly a whopping five other West teams are within three games of the Grizz, and that 8-seed sure looks up for grabs.
Up next on the slate for the reeling Grizzlies? The Los Angeles Lakers.
It would be easy to point to the absence of Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke as the reason for Memphis’s shortcomings, but it’s worth noting that four of those five Grizz losses have come on the road, three of them against the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets. Memphis was always going to go about 1-4 in this stretch, so maybe we shouldn’t give up on them just yet.
Besides — conspiracy theory alert!! — are we totally sure the Lakers will give their best effort? LeBron is questionable and the Lakers play a national TV game tomorrow against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. Let’s assume LeBron only plays one of these games.
Which one do the Lakers want? Quietly sit LeBron tonight and tank against the Grizz, lay the smack down on New Orleans tomorrow, and voila, Grizz are right back in charge of the 8-seed and the Lakers have a far less chance of playing Zion in the playoffs.
Is it crazy? Yes. Is Memphis not as bad as they look lately, playing with their season on the line, against a Lakers team that can’t run offense without LeBron? Also yes.
Let’s take a shot.
The PICK: Grizzlies ML (+330)
Matt Moore: Lakers at Grizzlies
So everything Brandon said above is interesting and smart.
And also, well, no, the Grizzlies are not winning this game.
Memphis on the second night of a back to back has been good this season. But against top ten teams on the second night of a back to back, Memphis is 0-2 with a -12.3 point differential. Their ATS margin drops to -2.3 in those spots, via Cleaning the Glass.
Without Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, they don’t have rim runners to pressure the defense and they don’t have rim protection on the other end. Furthermore, the Lakers are 5-2 against opponents on no rest and have allowed less than 100 points on average.
Since the trade deadline, the Grizzlies are 28th in offensive efficiency, averaging just 103 points per 100 possessions. There’s an opportunity in them there waters. The Lakers are highly likely to push through the next few weeks to secure the No. 1-seed within a handful of games and then rest. They don’t care about the Pelicans game. They have bigger fish to fry.
The PICK: Lakers -9 | Grizzlies team total under 109
John Ewing Rockets at Celtics
- Spread: Celtics -1.5
- Over/Under: 232
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Celtics-Rockets total opened 230.5 and has been bet up to 232. Sharp money is driving the line movement.
While only 56% of bets are on the over, this accounts for 87% of dollars wagered on the total. When there is a larger percentage of dollars than tickets this is an indication of professional action.
Historically, it has been profitable to follow such line movement.
Since 2015, when we began tracking dollar percentages, betting the overs that match this system have gone 341-270-7 (56%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,338.
Sharps don’t always win, but being on the same side as the pros is a profitable long term strategy.
The PICK: Over 232