Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Expert Pick - February 25, 2023
GRIZZLIES VS. NUGGETS EXPERT PICK - FEBRUARY 25, 2023 -Welcome back basketball fans to our weekly column that breaks down a couple of the marquee games from this weekend’s slate of NBA games.
One of the most interesting matchups from Saturday’s games features a pair of Western Conference teams that are standing head and shoulders above the competition. The Denver Nuggets (42-18) have the best record out west and the third-best record in the league behind the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. Denver’s opponent is the Memphis Grizzlies (35-23) who hold the second-best record in the conference.
The most recent outing for the Grizzlies wasn’t a good one. Despite leading by 15 points, they were outscored 35-24 in the final frame en route to a 110-105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. Desmond Bane led Memphis with 25 points, while Ja Morant was held to just 15 points on 3-for-16 shooting from the field.
Nuggets Handle the Cavs
Meanwhile, the Nuggets emerged victorious in their most recent outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thanks to yet another triple-double by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic (24 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists), the Nuggets came away with a 115-109 victory. This was Jokic’s 13th triple-double in his last 16 games.
Given these kinds of performances, it’s not much of a surprise that he’s the odds-on favorite to win the league’s MVP award for the third straight season.
Will the Nuggets continue to roll or will the Grizzlies stop them dead in their tracks? Here’s a breakdown of this showdown between the two best teams in the western conference
When: Saturday, February 25th at 8:o0 pm EST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Public Bets: Grizzlies, 64%
Public Money: Grizzlies, 64%
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of February 25h, 2023
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Nuggets Season Trends
The Memphis Grizzlies are a decent team from an offensive standpoint.
They are ranked ninth in scoring and 20th in efficiency. At the other end of the court is where Memphis excels. The team has the eighth-best scoring defense and the second-best defensive rating in the league.
Memphis also leads the league in opponent field-goal percentage, limiting its opponents to 44.9 percent shooting. Unfortunately, they have dropped six of their last 10 contests.
The Nuggets are the opposite. Denver is currently averaging 117.0 points per contest – the seventh-best scoring offense in the league.
The Nuggets also have the second-highest offensive rating. From a defensive standpoint, Denver is ranked 13th in both scoring defense (112.7 points per contest) and defensive rating (113.9 points per 100 possessions).
While the Grizzlies have struggled in their last 10 outings, Denver has won eight of their last 10 games, including four consecutive victories against the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and the Cavaliers.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Nuggets Head-To-Head & Betting Trends
In the head-to-head competition between these two clubs, a feast-or-famine theme has unfolded over the past few seasons.
In 2020-21, Denver swept the season series 3-0. Last season, Memphis took three of the four contests, albeit by a combined 15-point margin in those victories.
In the lone meeting between these ball clubs back in December, the Nuggets jumped out to a 35-14 lead after the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 105-91 victory, despite Ja Morant’s 35-point performance.
The predicted O/U for this contest is 234.5. The two teams are averaging a combined 232.9 points per contest. While this is only 1.6 points less than the predicted total, here are a few reasons you should go with the UNDER.
The UNDER holds a 9-1 mark in Memphis’ last 10 games following a loss. They suffered a five-point loss to the Sixers on Thursday night.
The UNDER is 6-1 in the Grizzlies’ last seven games when they are playing on one day of rest. Furthermore, the predicted total O/U total has gone UNDER in eight of the last nine games for Memphis when they are playing at home against the Nuggets.
The Grizzlies opened as a consensus three-point favorite. That line has moved to -2. Here is a look at why you should take Denver and the points.
The Nuggets have a perfect 4-0 record against the spread after allowing 100 or more points in their previous game. They gave up 109 points to the Cavaliers on Thursday night.
Denver also holds a 4-0 record ATS when their opponent has given up more than 100 points in their previous contest. Memphis game up 110 points in the team’s recent loss to the Sixers.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games when facing a team in the Northwest division and they are 4-8 ATS in the last 12 games they have played during the month of February. That said, I would strongly suggest taking Denver (+2)
Player Prop Bet(s)
If you’ve been following this column over the past few weeks, you know that I usually give just one player prop bet. However, in this instance, I think it’s worth looking at multiple PPBs in this matchup.
The first one to look at is Nikola Jokic has +125 odds of recording a triple-double. Remember, in the team’s recent win against Cleveland, he posted his 13th triple-double in a 16-game stretch. This marked his 22nd triple-double on the season, and the Nuggets have won each of those 22 games.
The second PPB to look at is Ja Morant. He currently has -106 odds of scoring over 27.5 points in this contest. While his scoring average against Denver is 23.9 points per contest, in his last two games against Denver, he scored 38 and 35 points, respectively. Also, Morant has scored 29 points in seven of his last eight games against western conference opponents.
UNDER 235.5 total points
PPB: Nikola Jokic triple-double and Ja Morant OVER 27.5 points