Grizzlies vs. Lakers Odds & Pick: Under is the Play on Friday Night in Los Angeles
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- The reigning champions host an upstart Grizzlies team on Friday night at Staples Center.
- Anthony Davis’ status is up in the air because of Achilles soreness, but the Lakers continue to thrive.
- Nick Alfano breaks down where there’s betting value in this Western Conference matchup.
Grizzlies vs. Lakers Odds
|Moneyline||+245 / -315|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
You have to appreciate a big market versus small market matchup, outside of each organization’s successes on the court this season. By name alone, this game feels like a David and Goliath matchup and that mentality makes it so much more fun to watch.
The Los Angeles Lakers are playing an unbeatable brand of basketball right now. They’re on a six-game win streak and have lost just four games in 2021. However, they’ve played four overtimes in their last three games, so there have been some close calls.
After a four-game losing streak that included going 0-4 against the spread, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Charlotte Hornets handily on Tuesday.
The Lakers may be gassed, and the Grizzlies had a rough last week and a half, so should we expect another girding game at the Staples Center on Friday night? Let’s dig into the matchup and find out.
If you’re a casual NBA viewer, it would be easy to watch the Grizzlies and recognize their cast of characters less from their NBA accolades than their memorable college careers. There’s Dillon Brooks from Oregon, Kyle Anderson from UCLA, Gorgui Dieng from Louisville, and Duke’s Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen.
The point is, this team does not yet grab a viewer’s attention.
Yet, the Grizzlies play solid defensive. And their prowess will be amplified if Anthony Davis does not play. Memphis ranks 12th in Defensive Rating (110.3), just decimal points outside the top 10. On offense, they are certainly not a juggernaut. They rank 19th in offensive rating (110.3) and 21st in Effective Field Goal Percentage (52.6%), according to NBA Advanced Stats.
One are where they thrive is scoring in the paint. The Grizz average 53.4 points in per game in the paint (second-most in the league), led by Jonas Valanciunas’ 11.1 paint points per game. Of course there’s their star, Ja Morant, who hasn’t been much of an offensive dynamo since returning from an ankle injury last month. Morant is averaging just over 15 points, shooting 41% from the field and 26% on 3s since returning to the lineup
This team is mediocre on the offensive end and their weaknesses should be exacerbated by the Lakers.
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Los Angeles Lakers
A lot of betting angles in this one hinge on the status of Davis. According to our Action Labs injury dashboard, it’s still unclear whether he’ll play due to after sitting out the past two games with Achilles soreness.
Davis is an important asset to LA’s offensive attack. The Lakers post a 115.4 Offensive Rating when he’s on the floor (second-highest on the team) and 106.2 Offensive Rating when he’s off.
On defense, he hasn’t been as impactful as he was in his first season with the Lakers. Last season he held opponents to 38.3% shooting and that number is up to 44.4% this season. In fact, the Lakers are playing a bit better on defense with him off the floor this season. They are allowing 101.4 points with him off the floor and 105.5 with him on.
Despite Davis’ surprising numbers, LA’s strength is their team defense. The Lakers have the NBA’s best Defensive Rating (104.5) and rank third in opponent effective field goal percentage (50.9%).
In particular, they are excellent at playing defense without fouling. It limits how often their opponents get to the line and creates lower totals. LA boasts the lowest opponent free throw rate in the league (.198), while Memphis has the league’s lowest free throw attempt rate by a sizable margin (.203).
The Grizzlies and Lakers are capable of putting up big numbers if they’re playing in the right situation. On Friday, each team will have had a day of rest, making them ready to display the defensive tenacity both organizations embody.
The Lakers rank 22nd in Pace (99.14) while the Grizzlies are 14th (100.03) and I predict a methodical gameplay throughout.
They faced off in back-to-back games in Memphis earlier this year. Those totals landed at 202 and 186, and I expect another defensive showdown in this one. I’ll take the under here and root against every shot.
Pick: Under 220 (would bet to 217)