Pelicans vs. Grizzlies NBA Odds & Picks: Expect Clash of High-Powered Offenses (Tuesday, Feb. 16)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant, left, and New Orleans Pelicans standout Zion Williamson.
Pelicans vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft will go head to head once again Tuesday when the New Orleans Pelicans face the Memphis Grizzlies.
Both teams have had their fair share of struggles this season in terms of establishing an identity on the floor, and both find themselves in the bottom of the crowded Western Conference standings as we round the corner on the first half of the season.
So, where’s the betting value in this matchup? Let’s dig into both teams and find out.
New Orleans Pelicans
Tonight’s contest marks the last of the Pelicans’ four-game road trip and they’re 0-3 so far, dropping games to the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. In all three defeats, the Pelicans allowed opponents to score at least 120 points.
For the season, the Pelicans rank 28th in the league in Defensive Rating, allowing 115 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA Advanced Stats. Unfortunately, they’ve been even worse recently. Since the start of February, they’re allowing 121.1 points per 100 and only the Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers have been worse during that span.
What’s more concerning about their defense over this recent stretch is that they’re playing at the fourth-slowest pace in the NBA (96.50). The struggle for New Orleans has been defending three-point shooters. In the Pelicans’ last eight games, opponents have attempted 41.1 shots behind the car and hit 41% from that area — both numbers rank in the bottom of the league.
Some of this is by design — New Orleans allows the highest frequency of open 3s in the league, hoping the worst shooters on the team will take and miss those shots — but that strategy has been hurting them of late.
If there is a silver lining, it’s the offensive production that has ramped up over that same stretch. They are scoring 122.7 points per 100 in February, nearly 12 points higher than their Offensive Rating through January.
This team can’t seem to focus on both ends of the floor in the same game and it’s largely the reason why they can’t beat teams like the Bulls and Pistons, especially on the road.
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The Grizzlies have played the fewest games in the league due to COVID-19 postponements, but they’re .500 on the season and starting to find a groove with Ja Morant back in the lineup.
Much like the Pelicans, the Grizzlies have ignored the defensive end of the floor lately. They are allowing 117.3 points per 100 possessions in February, but they are also middle of the pack in Pace (99.63).
The offense has been flowing for the Grizz, though, as they’ve weathered injuries to a number of their main rotation players. De’Anthony Melton will miss his fifth straight game with a shoulder injury and Desmond Bane is out for personal reasons. However, the Grizzlies will have Brandon Clarke available off the bench and Grayson Allen has filled in admirably as a starter.
Allen has been a reliable 3-point shooter for the Grizzlies and is hitting 50% of his attempts from deep in his past five games. As a team, the Grizzlies are shooting 39.7% on 3s this month (ninth in the NBA over that span), which could spell trouble for the Pelicans.
According to Bet Labs, the over is 7-3-1 in Grizzlies games since Morant returned to the lineup on Jan. 16. Over that same stretch, the over is 12-2-1 in Pelicans games. Only the Brooklyn Nets have been a more profitable team to bet the over during that span.
The Grizzlies have only had a total close above 230 once during that span — Sunday against the Sacramento Kings — but the over is 4-1 combined for these two teams when the total is that high.
This is a matchup between two teams that are exclusively focused on offense and while the total has lost some value since opening at 228, I still like the over 231.5 here.
Pick: Total Over 231.5 (bet up to 234)