Grizzlies vs. Pelicans: Back Motivated New Orleans at Home

Chris Baker breaks down the NBA matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies vand New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, April 5.

Grizzlies vs. Pelicans Odds

Grizzlies Odds +5
Pelicans Odds -5
Over/Under 231
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Pelicans have three final games to solidify their playoffs or play-in tournament spot while the Grizzlies have all but locked up the 2-seed in the Western Conference. Will the Grizzlies pack it in and rest their players on a back-to-back, or will they fight to earn the 1-seed despite being two whole games back with three games remaining?

Let’s break down the odds along with a betting pick and prediction for Grizzlies vs. Pelicans.

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Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have pretty much locked down the 2-seed, and I would expect them to rest a few of their key players tonight as they are coming off of a back-to-back.

They looked a step slow last night against a G-league Trail Blazers team, but you can’t really fault them for that. It’s hard to get up for a game against a bunch of G League players, and their complacency nearly cost them the game as it was tied late in the fourth quarter. All three of Jaren Jackson Jr, Ja Morant and Desmond Bane exceeded 33 minutes, so I would expect a few of these guys to rest here.

The Grizzlies know all they need is either one win or one Kings loss to lock down the 2-seed, and the Kings are likely to pick up a loss given the difficulty of their remaining schedule.

The Kings have to face a Mavericks team with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving suiting up tonight, after they faced New Orleans last night. The Mavericks still technically have a chance to make the play-in, so it sounds like they will compete tonight. The Kings also have to face the Warriors and Nuggets over their final two games.

I mention all this to establish that this game likely means very little to the Grizzlies, and I expect them to prioritize playoff health above beating the Pelicans. The likelihood of the Grizzlies resting is being expressed by the current line of Grizzlies +5 at most sportsbooks.

That line indicates to me that the expectation is a bunch of key Grizzlies starters rest tonight. Expect Memphis to get its younger players some run tonight in what is a mostly meaningless game for them.

New Orleans Pelicans

Now that we’ve established how meaningless this game is for the Grizzlies, let’s talk about how important it is for the Pelicans.

The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off of a blowout loss to the Kings last night. This loss dropped them back down to eighth in the Western Conference, after being tied with the Lakers heading into last night. With three games left, the Pelicans are 1.5 games back of the 5-seed Warriors but also are just 0.5 games in front of the 9-seed Timberwolves.

This team has a wide range of outcomes and should look to capitalize tonight as their final game against the Timberwolves should be an extremely difficult one. Expect the Pelicans to treat this matchup with the Grizzlies. like a playoff game. This has been a tough matchup for the Pelicans this season, but they should have a massive talent advantage tonight as I expect Memphis to rest most of its main stars.

Grizzlies-Pelicans Pick

It’s tough to pick a side without knowing 100% who is playing on the Grizzlies, but given the wildly different motivations for each team, I would have to lean towards the Pelicans at -5.

The Pelicans will be treating this matchup like a game seven, while the Grizzlies have very little to gain and everything to lose if someone gets injured this late in the season. Given this incentive disparity, I will lay the -5 with the Pelicans.