May 5, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
Take Memphis Grizzlies at +11 spread against Golden State Warriors risking 3%.
The Grizzlies will look to rebound from the opener as the two clubs square off once again in Game 2 of their best out of 7 series. Even though the Grizzlies lost the series opener by 15 points, their overall statistical performance wasn't necessarily as poor at the final score may have indicated. For the most part, the Grizzlies played a fairly even game with Golden State, with the exception of one glaring difference. Memphis managed to shoot 45% from the floor against the Warriors. The Grizzlies attempted 7 more free-throws than Golden State, they were just -2 for the game in overall rebounding and assists and had an equal number of steals and turnovers for the game. From the stat line it appears that this would have been a much more closely contested game, except for the fact that Golden State outscored the Grizzlies from the 3 point line. Memphis managed to connect on just 3 for 12 from long range, compared to the Warriors who were raining down three's going an impressive 13 of 28 from beyond the arc. That was the biggest difference in the contest and something that we expect the Grizzlies to defend much better this time around in addition to limiting their uncharacteristically high 16 turnovers from the last outing.
Golden State is arguably the best team in the league, there is no denying that. They also and have a freshly crowned MVP in Steph Curry who has been garnering the national spotlight and deservedly so. Curry is a great player and deserves the recognition, however, we also feel that because of all of the attention on Golden State that perception has been somewhat skewed. Let's not forget that the Grizzlies are about as tough as they come and their style of play is built for playoffs. Spotting a team such as Memphis double digits is a dangerous proposition. We do feel that the odds makers didn’t have much of a choice in the matter of the line however. They in fact had to make Memphis double digits underdogs in this contest in order to balance out the money wagered on this contest. As it is, nearly 65% of the wagers are on the Warriors tonight. We believe Golden State should have been no more than an 8 point favorite, however had the odds makers released that line, we likely would have seen upwards of 85% of the wagers on the Warriors and that would have been a major liability. This line is a couple of points inflated and we will take full advantage of that. We expect Memphis to make the necessary adjustments tonight to remain competitive in this game. Our historical database also shows that they are in a very favorable spot tonight, highlighted by two very compelling league-wide facts:
1) Top level teams (75% or better win record) as home favorites are only 13-37 ATS in playoffs since 1997 when leading a series against a team with a winning record.
2) Double-digit underdogs off a playoffs game that they lost and didn't cover the spread are 33-18 ATS since 1991!
These are trends that are different but apply almost perfectly to this contest tonight. They have stood the test of time and are a big reason why we believe the Grizzlies are likely to cover the spread and have a better performance than most expect.
Golden State is also a team that has shown their ability to open themselves up for backdoor covers recently, even when leading by as much as 20+ as evidenced by their series with the Pelicans. Also, thirteen players took the floor for the Warriors in Game 1, something that Coach Steve Kerr said that he expects to continue. What this means is that Memphis should have multiple opportunities to keep this game competitive when less seasoned / talented players take the court. In Game 1 Memphis managed to claw their way back into the game after Golden State players got complacent and stopped giving 100%. At this point the Warriors have no real desire to blow teams out. Steve Kerr's main goal at the moment is grabbing a victory, keeping his players healthy and preparing for the series to shift to Memphis. He likely would be as satisfied with a 1 point victory as he would if his team were to win by 10. The Warriors have now won 9 in a row overall and 21 straight at Oracle Arena! Their last home loss happened back in January, so this is a team that is used to winning. They are so used to it in fact that many players may feel that a win is almost "expected". That is an incredibly dangerous mindset to have and leaves the door wide open for complacency to become a factor in determine which team covers the spread.
The Grizzlies are also a team that typically bounces back soundly after a loss as evident by their 20-9 record when seeking revenge on an opponent this season. Not only are the Grizzlies a threat to win a revenge game outright, but tonight they are now being spotted 10 points to go along with it. They are also 30-19 ATS when playing teams with winning records which shows that they have had success when playing top level competition this season. They are not a team that shies away from a challenge and have shown their ability to make the necessary adjustments to bounce back and remain competitive after a loss. Golden State may be the best team in the league, however they should not be laying this many points in this contest. The Warriors may manage to go up 2-0 in the series but laying 11 points is too much and likely to come into play.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Grizzlies are 6-2 ATS when trailing in a playoff series over the last 3 seasons!
- Warriors are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games when playing on one day's rest.
- Grizzlies are 4-2 ATS in games played at Golden State over the last 3 seasons!
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