Jazz vs. Grizzlies NBA Odds & Picks: Back Utah to Come Out Hot in First Half (Wednesday, March 31)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell.
- The Jazz have gotten hot again following a rough stretch of their season.
- The hot three-point shooting team takes on a Memphis team that makes its name on defense.
- Phillip Kall breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.
Jazz vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Moneyline||-305 / +245|
|Over/Under||230 (-113 / -109)|
|Time||Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via BetMGM|
Utah has found its way again after a disappointing stretch, winning its past six games. The Jazz’s recent win streak has helped solidify their position atop the West giving them a 3 1/2 game lead. Even though they have a nice buffer, more than a month of basketball remains, so they are far from safe.
Memphis sits in the opposite boat as they are currently a game back from the eighth seed. The Grizzlies have done little to help their position since the All-Star break with just a record of 6-6. They have hope, though, as their schedule is much easier than the Spurs’ to end the year.
We have seen these two teams face off twice in the past week and split the victories against the spread. Let’s dig deeper to see who beats the spread in their third meeting.
During their six-game win streak, the Jazz have produced an astounding 19.4 Net Rating, per NBA.com. The extraordinary level of play comes from their defense jumping to the next level with a Defensive Rating of 100.2.
Memphis presents the perfect opponent for this new-and-improved defense, too. The Grizzlies focus their attack on the inside as they shoot the third-highest percentage of two-point shots, per Basketball-Reference. Attacking inside-the-arc is exactly what the Jazz want opponents to do, thanks to the presence of shot blockers Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors.
Offensively, the Jazz have maintained the same dominant style all year. They spread the floor with their plethora of shooters who allow their guards to attack off the dribble. What makes this so difficult to defend is the efficiency of their shooters. All of Utah’s rotation guards and forwards shoot at least 35% from deep.
As the season’s end draws near, the stars for Utah have taken their game to the next level. In their past six games, Donovan Mitchell’s points per game have risen to 29.5 on a ridiculous 55% shooting. Following suit, Gobert has ticked his offensive output up to 17.2 points per game.
After a slight mid-year slump, the Jazz’s revival was needed to help their odds of securing the West’s top-seed.
The Grizzlies have played with a defense-first mindset all season. They were forced down this path because of their offensive struggles that led to the 19th-ranked Offensive Efficiency. They create their best scoring opportunities through their defense forcing turnovers and playing with pace. Unfortunately, they shoot only 34.8% from three-point range, which ranks 25th in the NBA.
They have found a way to create more scoring recently, averaging 118.4 points in their past five games. Even during this run of offensive success, though, the threes just won’t fall, as they still shoot 34.6%.
While the three is an epidemic the Griz can’t fade, there is hope in their matchup with the Jazz. Memphis’ defense excels because of its ability to force pressure and create turnovers. The Grizzlies do this so well that they are nearly full steal ahead of the second-ranked 76ers in steals per game.
Ball control is the one area Utah struggles with as they commit 14.4 turnovers per 100 possessions, the ninth-most per Basketball-Reference.
In the tight race for the West playoffs, one win could make the difference between in and out of the playoffs. Pulling off an upset like beating the Jazz would go a long way toward improving Memphis’ playoff chances.
In addition to dominating straight-up, the Jazz have rewarded backers by going 30-16 against the spread. Behind their success comes a simpler formula: Make lots of threes while stopping your opponents from doing so. When reviewing their losses closer, the difference is in how they’ve guarded the three-point line. In wins, they allow a 32.1% from three, and in losses it’s 45.1%.
Against the Grizzlies, stopping the three should be no problem. As mentioned above, shooting is the one hump they can not overcome and one of their best shooters, Grayson Allen, might miss the game.
Memphis has also played well against the spread, going 26-18 on the year. However, the Grizzlies have struggled in the first half, going 20-23-1. On the other hand, Utah’s ATS dominance has been all game long as they are 27-19 in the first half.
Utah playing its best basketball recently and Memphis struggling with the one necessity to beat the Jazz have me leaning in Utah’s favor. Seeing the drastic discrepancy between Memphis’s first half and whole game results have me treating this game a little differently though.
Back Utah to get ahead early and cover in the first half.
Pick: Jazz 1H -3.5 to -4.5