Thunder vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
A pair of NBA darlings meet on Wednesday night in the Home of the Blues, as the Memphis Grizzlies play host to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both small market teams have played above expectations this season, especially when accounting for the off-and-on health of the Grizz.
Both teams also come into Wednesday riding three-game win streaks, with the most recent win for both standing out in particular.
For the Thunder, they went into Atlanta and picked up a nice little road win for a game they came into as seven-point underdogs. For the Grizzlies, it was an all-hands-on-deck win over the Heat in which Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr, Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Jake LaRavia and Ziaire Williams were all out. Of course, this is nothing new for the Grizzlies, who easily lead the league the past few seasons in wins like that.
Guessing who will actually play for the Grizzlies is a fool’s errand at this point, but to some extent it doesn’t matter, given Taylor Jenkins’ ability to plug and play down the entire roster.
Regardless, let’s break down both teams and look for some betting angles for Wednesday.
Oklahoma City Thunder
If you’re looking to the Thunder side in this one, you’re likely keying in on a few aspects.
First and foremost is the massive gap in health. We noted the struggles for Memphis in this regard, and the Thunder are on opposite side of the spectrum. Other than rookie Chet Holmgrem, the only rotation player on the injury list is Kenrich Williams who isn’t a starter (but is coming off a season-high point total his last game played).
The Thunder are also are strong in terms of limiting fast-break points for their opposition, ranking seventh in the league. Given that the Grizzlies rely on fast-break points for over 15 percent of their offense (they rank third in the league in terms of fast-break points per game), limiting that aspect will be key if the Thunder want to pull off another surprise.
In terms of how the teams match up, it’s lots of good news for Memphis. One consistent to this Grizzlies season has been their ability to pound the offensive glass. It’s not surprising either, given that their player with the most games started is Steven Adams.
The Big Kiwi leads the entire NBA in offensive boards at 5.0 per game, with only Clint Capela even if his neighborhood. It’s hardly just Adams though, as it’s a team-wide priority from the Grizz. That’s good news for Memphis on Wednesday, as one of the Thunder’s rare true weaknesses is their defensive rebounding rate. The Thunder rank dead last in the league in defensive rebounding rate, with only the Jazz even close.
And it’s even a little more of an issue than that. Their post defense as a whole is suspect, as they give up the third-most points in the paint per game this year, and it makes sense when you see the lineup — there’s no fluky sample here. The Grizzlies pound the paint as well as any team in the league, with their 56.2 points per game in the paint fourth in the Association this season.
On paper this matchup looks great for the Grizzlies.
As of writing, there’s no official injury news. If forced to guess, I would say Jackson would be the most likely to play for Memphis since his last game was a back-to-back rest off his injury.
I’d also lean toward Morant being out there. He wasn’t on the initial injury report released Tuesday night, and the reason he missed Monday was just lingering ankle soreness — it seems more likely than not he might play.
Desmond Bane is even possible, as we are reaching the end of the original timeline. However, given that there has been no buzz about this, I’d say he is the least likely of their big three to play. This is purely speculation, however.
If I am capping this game with Jackson and Morant in the lineup, I have to go with the Grizzlies -6. Betting against OKC is terrifying, and without either I find it harder to get to that number. I know we spoke about the Grizzlies ability to plug and play, but Morant’s ability to shred the Thunder interior and Jackson’s rim protection against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander both seem more important than normal Wednesday night.
There are a few other angles to play here. The Grizzlies have been great in the first quarter this season, while the Thunder have been their worst in the first. In a game in which I already lean Memphis — and a game in which they are likely to win the tip — I like Memphis -2.5 +110 at PointsBet (the only book to post this line as of writing).
Using all that logic, I also like Memphis first to five points if you can find it at -135 or better.
Both teams have also been heavy to the over this season, and there’s still a few lagging numbers in the market as of writing (231.5 at BetRivers and FanDuel).
Finally, if you’re a narrative voter, a couple plays based off this viral tweet from Tuesday:
Morant has to be stopped.
Pure basketball has vanished from the earth and I’m snitching on everyone.
– the number 1 social media snitch ref pic.twitter.com/AaHdOuVhxw
— IN THE LAB (@DevInTheLab) December 6, 2022
First, and foremost, as Action’s Joe Dellera pointed out in our NBA Slack channel, pound the over for Morant’s turnovers. And for the inverse, Morant is one of the most online humans ever and you know he saw this and is going to be a little extra motivated for a big night. I like him against the Thunder defense regardless, but add the extra juice and let’s make it a play.
Picks (all reliant on Morant and Jackson playing): Memphis -6; Grizzlies first to five points -135 or better; Ja Morant over 3.5 turnovers (to -125)
Leans: Memphis first quarter -2.5 (plus money, or -2 -110 or -1.5 -125); Ja Morant over 28.5 points; Over 231.5
NBA Article Plays: 21-17-1 (13.6% ROI) | NBA Action Network App Plays: 211-229-6 (0.2% ROI)