Spurs vs. Grizzlies Wednesday NBA Odds & Picks: Expect Brooks To Carry Memphis in Opener (Dec. 23)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Dillon Brooks
- The Memphis Grizzlies kick off their NBA season Wednesday when they host the San Antonio Spurs.
- Despite missing standout Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies are still favored in this matchup.
- Roberto Arguello explains why his absence creates betting value on teammate Dillon Brooks below.
Spurs vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Spurs Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Grizzlies Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+110/-135 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||231.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET|
After missing the playoffs for the first time in 23 years, the Spurs hope to start a new playoff streak this season behind emerging guards Derrick White and Dejounte Murray and former All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Grizzlies made it to the play-in series last season and will look to build on that success behind second-year players Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke.
Unfortunately, each team will be missing a key player for tomorrow’s season opener. The Spurs re-signed bubble standout Derrick White to a 4-year, $73M deal this week but he’s out with a toe injury. The Grizzlies will be without young stud forward Jaren Jackson Jr. as he recovers from a meniscus injury.
These injuries should open up betting value on another player.
San Antonio Spurs
In this era of analytics, where NBA teams have turned away from the mid-range game for 3-pointers and dunks, the Spurs are the exception to the rule. San Antonio attempted the most mid-range jumpers by a large margin in 2019/20 thanks to DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. San Antonio also attempted the fewest shots at the rim (due to a lack of spacing) and were 29th in 3-point attempts.
However, San Antonio’s ability to make mid-range jumpers at a decent rate (44%), combined with having the league’s lowest turnover rate helped the Spurs finish ninth in offensive efficiency (112.4). The Spurs should improve when White and Keldon Johnson (foot injury) are back in the fold, as their presence will allow Aldridge to attempt more 3-pointers instead of long two’s like he did toward the end of his season.
With Aldridge absent in the bubble, the Spurs shifted DeRozan to playing more as a small-ball four. Per Cleaning the Glass, he played about 80% of his minutes in The Bubble. Prior to the hiatus, DeRozan was playing just 21% of his minutes in that position.
San Antonio finished 25th in efficiency (113.5) last season and the decision to go with a smaller lineup didn’t help things. With Aldridge’s mobility looking like it could take a step back, White’s absence as an on-ball pest and charge-taker, and questions surrounding how healthy Dejounte Murray’s knee is, there should be opportunities for the Grizzlies to score on Wednesday.
Rookie Devin Vassell should help defensively, but under a coach like Gregg Popovich who tries to minimize mistakes with young players, it is uncertain how much Vassell will play in this game.
The Grizzlies wouldn’t have been a playoff team without Jaren Jackson’s shooting and ability to space the floor. And while they have no replacement for JJJ on the roster, the absence of Derrick White’s shooting, pick-and-roll creation and defense should level the playing field a bit.
Morant figures to take a step forward in year two, but his pull-up jumper still isn’t good enough for him to be a high-end scoring option yet. With Morant’s elite driving and passing, the Grizzlies need someone else to emerge as a dependable bucket-getter on the perimeter.
This need is more significant with their second-leading scorer (JJJ) sidelined and below-average shooters Morant, Kyle Anderson and Jonas Valanciunas in the lineup. This leaves Dillon Brooks as the lone full-time starter with shooting ability.
While I lean toward the Grizzlies to win, I don’t love the value on the moneyline or spread by themselves with so much uncertainty in game one for each team.
However, I do think there’s an opening to back the Grizzlies with a correlated parlay using Dillon Brooks. With JJJ on the sideline, Brooks figures get more shot attempts than normal and they should be decent looks against a porous defense.
In the six games after JJJ’s injury in the bubble, Brooks scored at least 20 points five times. Even though Brooks averaged 16.2 points per game, he wasn’t terribly efficient (11.35 PER). That said, he has never seen a shot he didn’t like. Without Winslow and JJJ, the Grizzlies will need someone to shoot 3’s to space the floor, and Brooks will take as many shot attempts as he can.
The Grizzlies will need Brooks to score to win, so I like his chances of getting to the 20-point mark with the increased volume in a favorable matchup.
I think there’s value backing Brooks for a big night in a Memphis win, so I am playing a double (parlay) of Brooks to score over 20.5 points with the Memphis moneyline at +225 and would play it down to +210.
Pick: Parlay Dillon Brooks over 20.5 Points/Memphis Moneyline (+225)