Pelicans vs. Grizzlies Preview: Back New Orleans to Cover Spread

Action Network contributor Kenny Ducey breaks down Saturday's NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies.

Pelicans vs. Grizzlies Odds

Pelicans Odds +5.5
Grizzlies Odds -5.5
Over/Under 231
Time 6:10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Pelicans and Grizzlies will both be playing beyond the regular season, and while the former has little to play for, the latter has absolutely nothing to play for in Saturday’s meeting.

With that in mind, could it be worth taking the points in this contest? Let’s break down both teams below and see if we can find some betting value.

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New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans are all but assured of the ninth spot out West with two games to go. Only a couple of losses, coupled with a couple of wins by the Spurs, could take them out of this spot. The difference between ninth and 10th, of course, is home-court advantage. While it would be nice to have for New Orleans, I don’t know how much it will really be sweating here.

The Pelicans have certainly played well to get here. Once questioned for their acquisition of CJ McCollum at the trade deadline, they’ve gone on an incredible run and are now proud winners of eight games in their last 11 tries. New Orleans is also 8-3 against the spread over that time, and on a two-game winning streak having covered large spreads in both contests.

There’s nothing that stands out about the Pelicans in the past two weeks, other than the fact that they have been great at pulling away from their opponents. As other teams out of contention or locked into playoff spots take the foot off the gas,

New Orleans has been able to rank 10th in defensive efficiency and ninth on the defensive end, according to The Pelicans’ rebounding, which has been solid all season, ranks first in that time.

Finally, we should note here that Brandon Ingram is listed as questionable for this one due to right hamstring tightness. He didn’t play in Thursday’s win over the Trail Blazers and definitely would be a welcome re-addition.

Memphis Grizzlies

There is nothing at stake for Memphis, which has done well to clinch the second spot in the Western Conference and home court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Grizzlies would obviously like to enter the playoffs feeling good about their basketball, and while it seemed impossible not to just a few days ago, Memphis has absorbed back-to-back losses to the Jazz and Denver. There’s not too much to feel bad about, though, considering those are two playoff teams and Memphis was a sizable underdog in both contests.

The reason the Grizzlies were underdogs? Well, they didn’t have their best player. There’s a decent chance they will get him back for this one, however, considering he is listed as questionable for this contest. The status of Ja Morant should dictate how this one plays out on the floor, but considering this line the oddsmakers clearly feel good about his chances of suiting up.

Memphis has led the NBA in defensive efficiency over the last two weeks and was lethal on that end when Morant was lost to injury earlier, so it’s hard to imagine it’d be easy to score on this team with or without him on the court.

Pelicans-Grizzlies Pick

The Grizzlies have been the better of the teams down the stretch, and as recently as last week were simply unbeatable. While I don’t know if they will lose this one outright, I will certainly bite on the Pelicans to cover.

New Orleans has gone 3-1 against the spread in its last four and will run into a Memphis team which has covered in 64.6% of its games, but just 62.1% of games where it was a home favorite. It’s hard to find a number which is under 63% and it’s certainly nitpicking, but it has been ever so slightly vulnerable in these spots relatively speaking.

The Grizzlies have been very average on the glads this year and in the past two weeks — ranking 15th — and with Ingram potentially coming back, I think New Orleans could take away some extra possessions from Memphis.

I will back a hot team to cover as a large underdog in a game it needs to win.

Pick: New Orleans +5.5 (-110)