A couple of struggling Western Conference lottery teams will both look to break out of funks tonight in New Orleans as the 18-21 Memphis Grizzlies visit the 18-22 New Orleans Pelicans (8 p.m. ET Monday).
The Grizzlies are on an extended stretch of ineptitude that includes five losses in a row, 10 losses in their last 12 games and 16 losses in their last 22 games. Memphis plays a very slow pace and simply does not have enough offense to win against most of its opponents.
The Pelicans have struggled with injuries and a leaky defense this season. They had a five-game losing streak late in December and have now somewhat recovered with three wins in five games.
These teams play different styles. Which squad will do a better job of executing its game plan to utilize their talent today? We will preview the game’s storylines before giving our Memphis Grizzlies vs New Orleans Pelicans predictions and betting picks, in an effort to get the better of the USA-legal offshore bookmakers.
Can Grizzlies’ Big Men Defend Pelicans’ Frontcourt With Fouling?
The matchup of big men in this game will be fascinating. While most NBA teams have been moving towards smaller, more versatile frontcourts, both of these teams utilize two bigger, more interior-oriented players in their starting lineup.
The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and Julius Randle have been very good this season. They combine to average 48.5 points and 22.6 rebounds per game and are fantastic at drawing fouls. Davis has a streak of 11 straight 20-point games and Randle’s 20-point streak is at six.
Memphis has a solid big-man duo of its own in Marc Gasol and rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. The duo is very good defensively, but it may have some trouble dealing with a more physical and athletic Pelicans pairing.
Jackson often gets into foul trouble but that can’t happen this game. Gasol is much slower than either Davis and Randle and will need to use his instincts to make up for his lack of explosiveness when defending either player.
How Will Kyle Anderson Play as an X-Factor?
The Pelicans are desperately lacking a quality 6’6” to 6’9” wing who can contribute positively on both ends. Their starting lineup features two big men (Davis and Randle) and three players 6’4” or shorter (Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore and Elfrid Payton). Holiday is a very good defender, but he specializes in defending smaller, quicker guards.
Anderson is Memphis’ starting small forward. At 6’9” with a 7’3” wingspan, he is probably going to be way bigger than the Pelicans player that he matches up against. He is a solid penetrator, passer and has great hands on defense.
This size advantage could be a good or a bad thing in this matchup. Anderson’s length could cause problems for his opponents on both ends of the floor.
However, Anderson’s lack of speed is his biggest weakness. Look for the Pelicans’ smaller players to use their quickness to their advantage against him.
Which Team Can Get More Outside Shooting Punch From its Bench?
Neither of these teams has a good bench. The Grizzlies’ reserves might be closer to good, but they will likely be without Dillon Brooks. He might be the top perimeter scoring threat off Memphis’ bench.
For the offenses of both benches to work, they will need their outside shots to fall. New Orleans has Darius Miller as its main reserve marksman, along with Ian Clark, Frank Jackson and Tim Frazier. The Grizzlies need to get some production from Justin Holiday, Shelvin Mack and JaMychal Green.
A lot of the aforementioned guys are very streaky shooters. However, if one or more guys on one of the teams can get hot, it will be a major boost to their squad.
Our Preview’s Memphis Grizzlies vs New Orleans Pelicans Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
I really don’t like the way the Grizzlies are heading. They are still getting Justin Holiday acclimated after a recent trade, and with Dillon Brooks out, there is not much going for their bench.
New Orleans may be a half-game behind Memphis in the standings, but the Pelicans are starting to get healthy with Elfrid Payton back. They have two great big men that are simply better than the combo of Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson Jr. I don’t think Kyle Anderson is good enough on the wing to make the Pelicans’ lack of size an issue. The Pelicans are in good position to win this game handily.
- The Pelicans are just 5.5-point favorites despite their more talented roster. The first of our Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans predictions is to place your bets on the Pelicans -5.5pts on the spread @ -110 with Intertops, Bookmaker or BetOnline.
- The Grizzlies should not win this game, mainly because of a lack of offense, but they will try to keep the pace of the game very slow to use their size advantage. I advise betting the under 214.5 total points @ -110 with Intertops.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.