One highlight of the NBA’s schedule today will be a matchup against a surprising Western Conference powerhouse and another team that has made the playoffs in 21 consecutive seasons.
The 11-5 Memphis Grizzlies are on a tear, with four consecutive wins. They are beating teams with a defensive-minded and slow-paced approach. The 8-8 San Antonio Spurs have been alternating between good and bad performances. They will look to start some positive momentum at home today (8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday).
This game will likely be on the lower-scoring end of the spectrum, but it should still be a competitive contest between two well-coached teams. This preview will mull over some important questions before offering our Memphis Grizzlies vs San Antonio Spurs predictions, in the form of betting picks with the United States’ odds setters, for this game.
Which Spurs Defense Will Show Up?
This is very uncharacteristic for a team coached by Gregg Popovich, but the Spurs have been wildly inconsistent on defense this season. In the past 10 days, they have shut down the offenses of the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, holding them to 88 and 92 points, respectively.
However, in that same stretch, they have also surrendered 140 points to the New Orleans Pelicans and let the terrible Phoenix Suns shoot 56 percent from the field against them.
The Spurs are a team heavy with veterans who seem to give very different levels of effort depending on the opponent. For them to perform well against the Grizzlies, they’ll have to take the game seriously.
Will Spurs Assert Their Rebounding Strength Against Memphis?
The Grizzlies are one of the weakest rebounding teams in the league. Starting big men Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson Jr. are not known for crashing the glass. Small forward Kyle Anderson is the only perimeter guy who helps out considerably on the boards.
On the whole, Memphis is just 29th in offensive rebounding percentage and 16th in defensive rebounding percentage. By comparison, the Spurs are 11th and ninth, respectively, in those categories.
The Spurs have a bunch of length in guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Jakob Poeltl, Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham and DeMar DeRozan. San Antonio can give Memphis big problems on the glass if it makes a point of doing so.
Can Memphis’ Ball Pressure Inside Bother Spurs?
The Spurs are a low-turnover team. The Grizzlies force a lot of turnovers. Something will have to give in this game.
Memphis has succeeded this year by sending lots of help defense on drives and post-ups, often confusing ball-handlers. The Grizzlies are actually first in the NBA in opponent turnover percentage due to this approach. Each of their top six minute-getters this season average at least 1.1 steals per game.
There are ways to beat this defensive strategy. If the Spurs are alert enough, they can make quick passing decisions. Also, if bigger guys like Aldridge and Gay can pin their defenders under the basket, double teams will prove useless, since they are already in range for an easy layup.
Our Preview’s Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs Betting Picks & Predictions
The Spurs have been a tough team to predict this season. However, after a dreadful defensive performance against the Pelicans on Monday, I expect a more concerted effort against an overperforming division rival in this contest today.
The Grizzlies have been great, but I do expect some regression from them at some point. For those wanting the picks, here we go with our Memphis Grizzlies vs San Antonio Spurs predictions:
- The Spurs are a very slim favorite in this game. I expect them to win by at least a few points. Put your money on the Spurs -2.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops, Bookmaker or BetOnline.
- The oddsmakers are expecting a low-scoring game. I think the pace could be even slower than expected, because both teams can be very good in transition defense and take their time on offense. They will push each other to play even slower in a game that may resemble what the league was like in the 1990s. Bet the under 200.5pts @ -110 with BetOnline or Bookmaker.
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.