Grizzlies vs. Jazz Preview: Target the Over/Under in Utah

Action Network NBA senior editor Malik Smith previews Monday night's matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz.

Grizzlies vs. Jazz Odds

Grizzlies Odds +10
Jazz Odds -10
Over/Under 221
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Memphis Grizzlies head from Minnesota to Utah to face the Jazz on Monday night. The Jazz have won three in a row after dropping four of five games the previous week. The Grizzlies are 2-3 in their past five and are bounce back after a bad loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday.

The line on this game is nearly double-digits, but based on some recent trend, the value may actually be on the total. Let’s break down how both the Grizzlies and the Jazz have been playing recently.

Memphis Struggling to Defend 3-Pointers

The Grizzlies started their season 5-3 behind some quality play from Ja Morant, who averaged 27 points per game on 52% shooting over the that stretch.

Over the past eight games, though, both Morant and the Grizzlies have been searching for answers and it doesn’t seem like they’ve found much. They have three losses of 25 points or more in that span, including a 43-point drubbing to the Timberwolves who put up 138 points in regulation.

The Grizzlies have the worst Defensive Rating in the NBA, allowing 115.5 points per 100, according to Cleaning the Glass and it has been even worse over the past two weeks (115.9 per 100). For the season, the Grizzlies opponents have a league-high 56.3% Effective Field Goal Percentage.

That can be directly attributed to their inability to guard the 3-point line. The Grizzlies rank last in Opponent 3-point Percentage on corner 3s (51%) and non-corner 3s (39.4%). The Wolves, who rank 16th in 3-point percentage (34.2%) shot 48% (20-of-41) against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

Until the Grizz figure things out defensively, they will continue to allow massive scoring nights for opponents. Dillon Brooks and D’Anthony Melton, two of their best defensive wing players, are sidelined tonight, which doesn’t bode well for the defensive unit in Utah.

Jazz Offense Humming Again

The Jazz are almost the exact same team they were last season.

Not just in terms of the roster — the top seven players in terms of minutes from last season are all the same guys this season — but in terms of style and execution.

The Jazz led the NBA in 3-point attempts last season with 43 3s per game, this season, they rank second with 41.9 per game. One slight difference early on has been their efficiency on those shots. They were fifth in 3-point percentage (38.9%) last season, but have dipped to 19th this season hitting just 34% of their 3s — thought they are still proficient in the corner shooting 39%.

They still lead the NBA in Offensive Rating, per Cleaning the Glass, scoring 116.5 points per 100. The Jazz are dominating at the rim, shooting 69.5% from that area of the floor (third-best in the league) and have also been efficient in the mid-range, where they rank second shooting percentage (46.6%).

The Jazz have great chemistry, excellent shot makers and a dominant presence down low with Rudy Gobert. Their game plan should be a simple one: exploit the Grizzlies from deep.

Grizzlies-Jazz Pick

The trend of games going under has been profitable since the start of the season, but we’re beginning to see that level out a bit. According to Bet Labs, under bets had a 63.4% win rate in October, but that is down to 56% in November and 52.8% over the past two weeks.

To say the Grizzlies have the worst defense in the NBA would be an understatement. What’s more important for this game is the area they struggle most, defending the 3-point line is an area where the Jazz are most aggressive.

The Grizzlies have been middle of the pack offensively and have put up some big scoring numbers recently, so it’s not inconceivable that they could have a solid offensive night. But it would take some bad shooting luck from the Jazz for the Grizzlies to avoid another bad defensive showing here.

The Grizzlies have been one of six teams that have been profitable when betting the over this season (9-7 to the over). Even with this game having one of the highest totals of the night, I think the value is on the over at 221 and I’d be it up to 222.5.

Pick: Over 221 (up to 222.5)