May 9, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
Take Memphis at +5 spread (buy half a point) against Golden State risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Memphis Grizzlies should have quite a bit of confidence heading into tonight’s contest. They took Game 2 on the road against the Warriors, a team that has been nearly invincable inside the confines of Oracle Arena this season. The fact that they were able to tie the series a one game apiece with the series now shifting to the Grind House at FedEx forum should allow the Memphis players to come out and play loose and free in this contest. The addition of Mike Conley back into the lineup was a game changer for the Grizzlies. Conley is a vastly underrated player but we all saw firsthand what an impact he has on his team's offense when he is in the rotation.
With so much media attention being spent on the Golden State Warriors because of their impressive home record, the fact that they had the overall best record in the league and due to Steph Curry being named this year's MVP, the perception of this Warriors team has reached its pinnacle. There is a very high expectation of this team and because of that their spreads have often been inflated and people are forced to pay a premium to back them. The Memphis Grizzlies on the other hand is a team that has flown somewhat under the radar. We believe they are often over-looked and undervalued despite having the second best record in the West for much of the season. They are a legitimate threat to win any game that they play in, especially game played at the Grind House. Looking back at the regular season you will see that they typically laid a substantial amount of points at home, no matter the opponent. They are very rarely listed as home underdogs, never mind 5 point underdogs as they are today! This will be the most amount of points the Grizzlies have been spotted in Memphis all season long!
The Grizzlies are also a team that had a great winning record this season no matter what the specific situation. Whether they were listed as the favorites, playing a team with a winning record or coming off a win as an underdog, Memphis has always shown their ability to rise to the occasion at home and pull out a win. Even if the Warriors manage to take by home court advantage and come away with a victory in Game 3, we expect this to be a closely contested battle that could potentially come down to the last possession. The Grizzlies in fact pose matchup problems for the much smaller Warriors and we have seen Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have their way on the boards already in this series. The biggest threat to the Grizzlies has been the Splash Brothers but they managed to do a good job of keeping them both in check and we expect that to once again be their focus in this game tonight.
The Grizzlies managed to expose the Warriors in Game 2 and had somewhat removed the air of invincibility from the team. That should give the players and coaching staff confidence knowing in fact that they do have the ability to defeat this team and have already done so in the toughest of environments. This is a team that is made of seasoned veterans. Guys like Gasol, Randolph and Allen have been in this situation before and realize that with the series being just 1-1, that they have no fully achieved anything as of yet. They will not allow their team to become complacent over a single victory. While their win in Game 2 was impressive, we expect them to already moved on and come into Game 3 focused and looking to defend their home court.
They call FedEx Forum the Grind House for good reasons. That is the style of basketball that the Grizzlies play and have excelled at. They are arguably the most physical team in the league and often wear down opponents with their sheer size and focus on the fundamentals of the game; solid defense and quality rebounding. This is essentially a team that was built for this type of situation. Golden State, while technically flashy with their potent offense and long range accuracy, they are more of a finesse type of team. The way to disrupt a finesse style offense to come out and play physical, something that the Grizzlies are known to do.
Injuries took a major toll on the Grizzlies this year but they are finally back at full strength and they are very dangerous. They pose a real threat to the Warriors not only in this game, but the series as a whole. As good as the Warriors have been on the road this season, there is a significant statistical difference from how they fare on the road vs. at home and getting 5 points in a situation such as this is simply too much to pass up with on a quality team like Memphis. If the Grizzlies can slow down the offensive assault of the Warriors like they did in game 2 they have a legitimate shot at the outright victory tonight. We feel that they are live underdogs in this contest and this spread is too generous. Even if they fall short of the outright victory, this should be a closely contested game with the 5 points proving precious and likely coming into play.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Memphis is 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Golden State is only 2-10 ATS in road games after having won 2 of their last 3 games.
- Memphis is 15-7 ATS after playing a game as a road underdog.
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