Memphis Grizzlies vs Cleveland Cavaliers (2/2 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Spread: Cavs -6
Money Line: Grizzlies +200 / Cavs -240
Overview and Betting Info
The Memphis Grizzlies (32-18) will head to Cleveland on Thursday to take on the Cavaliers (31-22). These two teams met a couple of weeks ago, with the Grizzlies winning the 115-114 thriller. Memphis is second in the West, while Cleveland is fifth in the East.
The Grizzlies are 24-25-2 against the spread this season but have covered just two of their last eight games. They’ve gone over the total 22 times but have been under in their last seven games.
The Cavs are 26-24-3 versus the spread and have covered two of their last five games. They have gone over the total 24 times but have been under in seven of their last ten.
The Grizzlies have lost five of their last six games, including a loss at home against Portland last night. It’s been a brutal run for a team contending for the West’s top seed. They are eighth in scoring (116.6 PPG) and second in rebounding (48.4 RPG) and blocks (6.0 BPG), and fifth in steals (8.3 SPG). They are twenty-fifth in three-point percentage (34.2%), which has been an issue all season. The defense has been good, ranking tenth in points allowed (112.5 PPG). Their season numbers are solid, but their recent stats can explain why they are currently struggling. They are twenty-fifth in scoring (109.0 PPG), 29th in field goal percentage (44.6%), last in three points percentage (28.6%), and twentieth in points allowed (116.7 PPG).
The Grizzlies are led by a pair of stars in Ja Morant (27.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 8.3 APG, 1.0 SPG) and Desmond Bane (21.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.1 APG). Ja has been on fire recently, with two triple-doubles in his last three games. He missed making it three straight yesterday by one rebound, with a final line of 32 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds. He’s an average three-point shooter but is a top contributor in almost every other category. Ja is joined by Bane, a prolific scorer and the Grizzlies’ top three-point shooter (41.8%). He made 49% from deep in January, but after last night’s game, he has only made 29% of his attempts in his previous four games. Bane returned last night after missing a few games with an injury, so we’ll see if they limit his minutes tonight.
The Grizzlies have a ton of depth behind their top two stars, led by a breakout season from Jaren Jackson Jr (16.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.3 BPG), who is the league’s top shot blocker despite playing just 35 games. He had an incredible January, averaging 17.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.8 blocks, and made 41% of his three-point attempts. Last month, he played well against the Cavs, with 15 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. The big man has 11 blocks in his previous two games as he continues to fill in for the defensive presence of Steven Adams (8.6 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.1 BPG), who is out with an injury. His absence has given more time for Santi Aldama (9.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG) and Brandon Clarke (10.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG). Watch out for Dillon Brookes (15.4 PPG) and Tyus Jones (10.5 PPG, 4.7 APG), as both can score and play critical roles in this offense.
The Cavs come in losers of six of their last ten games. They last strung together back-to-back wins on January 4th and are 8-8 to start 2023. Despite adding Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, the Cavs have struggled on offense this season. They are twenty-seventh in scoring (111.2 PPG) and twenty-fifth in rebounding (41.4 RPG), despite being sixth in field goal percentage (48.4%). They’ve made up for the lack of scoring with the play of their defense, which leads the NBA in points allowed (106.8 PPG) and second in rebounds allowed (40.5 RPG). They’ve been shutting teams down over their last five games, leading the league with an average of 102.2 points allowed during that span.
A trio of stars leads the Cavs in Donovan Mitchell (27.6 PPG, 1.5 SPG), Darius Garland (21.8 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.3 SPG), and Evan Mobley (15.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.4 BPG). Mitchell struggled from deep in January, though he still averaged 26.1 points. He closed the month by getting nine steals and 20 assists over his last three games. Garland is coming off a fantastic start to 2023, averaging 22.6 points and 8.7 assists while making 39.8% of his threes. With Mitchell missing their first game against the Grizzles, Garland put up 24 points, 14 assists, and two steals. Mobley is turning into one of the top big men in the league and has been a defensive beast with 11 blocks and three steals in his last five games. His scoring is still inconsistent, but he put up 18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks, and one steal against the Grizzles in their lone matchup this season.
The Cavs have a pair of talented role players in Caris LeVert (12.5 PPG) and Jarrett Allen (14.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG). LeVert had an excellent January by making 41.8% of his threes and dominated the Grizzles for 23 points. Allen has been the perfect complement to Mobley down low, giving Cleveland one of the best frontcourts in the East. He made 67% of his shots last month and averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. Allen’s not the shot blocker that Mobley is, but he has seven steals in his last four games. We’ll be watching Isaac Okoro (5.9 PPG) Thursday as he had a season-high 17 points and two blocks against the Grizzlies in January.
Free Pick: Under 223.5
The Grizzlies have been under in their last seven games, while the Cavs have been under in five of their previous six. This continues tonight with a rested Cavs defense matching up against a Memphis offense coming off a tough home loss. With Bane struggling from three and Adams out, the Grizzlies have failed to score efficiently, scoring 112 or fewer points in five of their last six games.
The Cavs have talent on offense but have struggled to put it all together. With Jaren Jackson protecting the hoop down low and Ja working against Mitchell, it’s hard to see them scoring too many points.
We’re rolling with the under in this one.