Grizzlies vs. Nuggets NBA Odds & Picks: Injury Concerns Place Value on Denver (Monday, April 19)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.
- The Memphis Grizzlies are looking to keep pace in the crowed West and face the Denver Nuggets on the road Monday night.
- Both teams are shorthanded, but the Grizzlies have more question marks on the injury front.
- Matt Moore previews tonight's matchup and explains why there is betting value on the home side.
Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Odds
|Moneyline||+220 / -275|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Denver Nuggets have refused to blink after losing Jamal Murray for the season, dispatching the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets in short order to get back on the winning track.
Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies have won seven of their last ten, even after Luka Doncic’s wild game-winner late last week. Memphis is surging not only to maintain its place in the play-in tournament but to keep pressure on the Dallas Mavericks for the division title.
A battle between a young up-and-comer and the presumptive MVP’s scrappy overachiever? What’s a better game to bet on a Monday?
The Grizzlies are looking extremely short-handed when it comes to this game. Per our NBA Insiders tool, Jonas Valanciunas is out, leaving poor rookie Xavier Tillman alone to handle Nikola Jokic and his onslaught of offense. Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, De’Anthony Melton, and Justise Winslow are all questionable for this game.
Some of those players will likely be in, but any combination spells doom vs. Denver, even without Murray. No Clarke means the Grizzlies will have to choose between Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. to give a size mismatch to (with the other defended by Kyle Anderson).
No Brooks means the Grizzlies will have to try and keep offensive pace with one of the best offensive units in the league, even without Murray. No Melton means one of the best bench units in the league is short-handed.
None of this bodes well when trying to get stops against the Nuggets offense, which is the only real way the Grizzlies can win this game.
Valanciunas’ absence has the most obvious impact, but Melton, Brooks and JV rank fist, second and third in on-court Net Rating for the Grizzlies this season. Memphis struggles to score and Denver’s defense has been sneaky good for some time.
On paper, this is a mismatch.
The Nuggets won’t have Murray, obviously, but also no Monte Morris, who is out with a hamstring injury.
The Nuggets may turn to Facu Campazzo as the starter, which will help Memphis trying to find size matchups on the defensive end. If the Nuggets start PJ Dozier, Denver adds athleticism and defensive acumen on top of its best scoring unit.
I’ll be betting the Nuggets first quarter most likely unless Paul Millsap starts. If the Nuggets move MPJ away from the 4-spot, it limits what makes those units great. Going with Gordon, MPJ, and Millsap simply clogs the court too much despite their collective ability to hit shots from deep. MPJ should feast on whatever matchup he draws.
The Grizzlies won’t have Jaren Jackson Jr. back (doubtful) quite yet, but if Jackson somehow does go from out to playing (watch for the updated injury report pre-game), then he can match up with MPJ. Still, that’s a tall order in his first game back.
Denver will switch everything except 1-5 pick-and-roll against Morant, daring him to beat Gordon, Porter, or Will Barton 1-on-1, and putting pressure on him in 1-5 pick-and-rolls to get rid of the ball. Without Brandon Clarke to play small ball short-roll four or Valanciunas to hit floaters, it gets tough.
Memphis is one of the best teams in the league at hitting floaters and Denver’s scheme in 1-5 pick-and-rolls leaves the middle of the floor wide open. If the roll man on those plays can hit those shots, Memphis may put up a bigger number than expected.
Provided Millsap doesn’t start, I will be on the Nuggets first half spread at -2.5. Denver is 9-1 in their past 10 first halves and the bench unit has stepped it up the past two games.
I’ll also be on the Nuggets at -5.5 and I like it to -7. This feels painfully low and an overreaction to the Murray injury with skepticism about the first two wins. But Denver wasn’t good in those wins, they were dominant.
The Grizzlies’ injuries aren’t more important than Denver’s, but they do impact the model for a Grizzlies win considerably more. Denver’s inconsistent defense combined with Memphis’ recent offensive potency has me avoiding the total entirely.
Pick: Nuggets -7 | Nuggets -2.5 1H