Raptors vs. Grizzlies NBA Odds & Picks: Scoring Should Come Easy in Memphis
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- The Raptors and Grizzlies meet on Monday night, with both teams firing on all cylinders offensively.
- While Toronto has a balanced scoring attack, Memphis is riding star point guard Ja Morant to a strong start to the season.
- Nicholas Alfano breaks down why he’s targeting the total in this inter-conference matchup.
Raptors vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Moneyline||-129 / +107|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
Football season is officially in the books. Now, it is time for basketball to take the baton and it all starts with a solid NBA slate on Monday that features the Toronto Raptors facing off with the Memphis Grizzlies.
I don’t view either of these teams as threats to make a deep playoff run, but Toronto is currently in ninth place in the East and Memphis is a half game out of the No. 8 spot out West.
This will be a competitive game featuring the some newfound offensive prowess on both side. So where’s the value in tonight’s game? Let’s dig into the matchups.
The Raptors have been tough to figure out this season. It’s near impossible to know whether this team will step on the hardwood with championship pedigree or play like they’ve lost a handful of significant contributors on a given night.
What has become abundantly clear is they enjoy playing in high-scoring games, especially recently. Over their past five games, the Raptors have the league’s fourth-highest Offensive Rating (121.9) and rank fifth in total points per game at 120.5, according to NBA Advanced Stats. Over the same time span, the Raptors are seventh in True Shooting Percentage (59.5%) and third in Free Throw Percentage (85.2%).
Most importantly, the Raptors’ key players have balled out to go on this elite offensive streak. Pascal Siakam has scored 30 or more points in three of his last five and Fred VanVleet put up a franchise and career-high 54 points against the Magic last week.
Since their two-point loss to Sacramento 10 days ago, Siakam, VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Chris Boucher all rank in the top 40 of Individual Offensive Rating for players averaging 20 minutes or more per game.
However, their defense has not shown up over this stretch. Toronto is allowing 117 points per game and ranks 27th in Opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage (58.9%) since Jan. 29.
The Grizzlies entered extensive health and safety protocols and experienced game cancellations at a terrible time. In the five games prior to their stoppage, they were 5-0 and beat the Nets, 76ers and Suns. They’ve now played five games since their restart and have lost three in a row heading into this matchup.
What’s noticeable, though, is these five games have all been very high scoring. Reliant on defense for most of this season, Memphis ranks 19th in Defensive Rating (116) over the five-game stretch. In this same time frame, the Grizzlies have the fourth-worst Opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage in the NBA (58.2%).
Similarly, this squad is not known to be an offensive juggernaut, but has found its footing on that side of the floor. Since Jan. 30, the Grizzlies rank seventh in Offensive Rating (117.8) and True Shooting Percentage (59.2%).
Another noticeable offensive improvement has been at the foul line. On the season, Memphis has the lowest Free Throw Attempt Rate in the entire league at .197. They’ve grown this attempt rate to .220 in their last five games, 22nd in the league in that span.
Though it may not be helping their record, it’s clear this team is playing a faster and more aggressive brand of basketball after their Covid postponements.
Of note, Brandon Clarke and De’Anthony Melton have been ruled out for this one, but I don’t project these injuries to significantly impact the total.
The Raptors and Grizzlies have been upsettingly inconsistent this season. A win versus a title contender may be followed by a brutal loss to a lottery bound organization.
At this point in the season, it is appropriate to isolate teams into recent time frames if significant trends are apparent. In the case of the Raptors and Grizzlies, each of their last five games have been very high scoring.
Toronto and Memphis have improved their offensive efficiency, but are letting opponents score at will. The over is 8-1-1 in their last 10 combined games, according to Bet Labs and I’m riding this trend at manageable total.
Pick: Over 222.5, up to 225.