Mavericks vs. Grizzlies NBA Odds & Picks: Back Low-Scoring Game in Western Conference Matchup (Wednesday, April 14)
Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured: Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson.
- The Mavericks and Grizzlies are jockeying for positioning in the Western Conference playoff race.
- Both teams have played well of late, with each winning six of nine.
- Kenny Ducey previews Wednesday night's game and makes a prediction below.
Mavericks vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Moneyline||-121 / +102|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday evening and via DraftKings.|
Both the Mavericks and Grizzlies have won six of their last nine games, but they’ve taken different paths to get there. Dallas comes in off back-to-back losses, perhaps cooling off a bit, while Memphis is just a couple nights removed from a grueling win over the Bulls.
With both teams engaged in an all-out fight for seeding — either vying for a good spot in the play-in tournament, or to avoid it altogether — we should see a fantastic battle on Wednesday night. Is there value in taking either one of these teams, though, with so many similarities? Or is the total a more appealing play? Let’s get into the matchup and see if we can find the answer.
The Mavs have fallen into bit of a rut, coming out of a five-game winning streak to lose three of four — and failing to cover the spread in all three losses. It’s not like Dallas has been a victim of its schedule, either — two of those three defeats came at the hands of Houston and San Antonio.
Let’s talk about the good, though. Dallas has still won six of its last nine! Its calling card of late has been its defense, which ranks exactly in the middle of the NBA in efficiency this season but has risen to sixth over the past nine games, according to NBA.com. In that span, the Mavericks have the sixth-best turnover rate in the league and are the owners of a solid 50.3% rebounding rate.
It’s hard not to give most of the credit for this run to Kristaps Porzingis, who has met Luka Doncic stride-for-stride. He’s averaged 22.2 points and 11.5 rebounds (which is especially of note considering he’s always had trouble on the glass). He’s hit 49.5% of his shots and has shot a very impressive 38.5% from three to emerge as perhaps the Mavs’ most important offensive player. Why’s that? Well, for starters, he’s a +8.5 per game while Doncic has been a +0.3. No, he’s not better than Doncic, but it’s undeniable that this team rose to another level when he returned to 100% health and subsequently started playing well.
The NBA’s 2021 play-in tournament is coming up in just a month’s time, and the Grizzlies are very much in the mix. Memphis sits at 27-25, good for eighth out West, which would put them into one of those double-elimination spots. If you’re not familiar with the new structure, the teams in seventh and eighth get two cracks at winning a game to get into the postseason, while nine and 10 get one. So the Grizzlies are very much in a fight here, and the Mavericks just so happen to be just ahead of them in seventh.
Memphis has brought that fight, and that grit-and-grind we’ve seen in years past, back to the court in recent games. The Grizzlies were able to earn a hard-fought victory against the Bulls on Monday, and before that lost two heart-breakers by 4.5 points on average following a four-game winning streak. During their run, the Grizzlies have picked up some big wins over the Sixers, Heat and Hawks, and have definitely earned their spot in the playoff hunt.
Like the Mavericks, the Grizzlies have also won six of nine games, and their defense has had a lot to do with it. Memphis had begun the season in pretty poor defensive form — though, to be fair, losing Ja Morant didn’t do it any favors — but have risen back up and rank fourth in defensive efficiency over the past nine games.
This is a tricky game to find a side. Dallas is 12-11 against the spread off of a loss, and an impressive 10-5 ATS as the road favorite, as it is here. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, have been the second-best team against the spread all season long and is 17-9 ATS off of a win.
My eyes have landed on the total. Sure, four of the last five Grizzlies games have gone over, but a ridiculous seven of the last eight Mavericks games have gone under the total.
I’ve spoken a lot about the last nine games for both teams, but in those games, the Mavericks have actually ranked third-to-last in pace and should grind this one to a relative halt. We know how good both defenses have been, and it doesn’t hurt that the Grizzlies are in the bottom third of the league in 3-point shooting over their run while the Mavericks sit in 17th.
I’m going to bet on a slow-paced, close game with great defense here and take the under.
Pick: Under 226