The NBA season rolls on and we go straight in early on this time with a pick in order to try and take advantage of some poor lines early on.
MEM Grizzlies -5.5 to beat OKC Thunder @ 1.71 (888Sport) – 2.5 points
Memphis Grizzlies have already gotten off to a great start and looking to make it to 5-0 for best start in Franchise history. In the first round of the playoffs the Grizzlies took the strong OKC team to 7 games, but this time around, things look it will be a bit easier with the absence of the 2 OKC All-stars in Durant and Westbrook.
Memphis have built most of their success on their defense holding down their opponent field goal percentage to under 40%. Last time around against the fast paced Suns team, they were able to execute their defense well and win by 11 points away from home. Grizzlies have got all round performances from their entire team including Gasol, Randolph, Lee and Conley; all of whom are averaging double digits while leading in rebounds and assists for the team. Randolph averaging 12.3 boards is the 4th highest in the NBA and his partnership with Gasol has helped them in establishing a strong interior defense. Last time around the backcourt offense of Lee and Conley combined for 46 points on the way to their success.
OKC Thunder have been putting on valiant efforts to try and beat their opponents despite all the injuries. In their last game out they had only 8 fit players and therefore their best players left had to play a lot of minutes. Ibaka played 46 out of 48 minutes, while Reggie Jackson played 42 minutes. They then also lost Perry Jones now to injuries along with Morrow, Lamb, McGary, Jerrett leaving them with a thin roster with a lot of minutes to be carried by a short rotation.
Memphis are looking strong and their defense should really frustrate this Thunder team who are using a lot of bench rotation players in the starting lineup.
DAL Mavericks -1.5 (HT) to beat UTA Jazz @ 1.91 (Bet365) – 2 points
The Dallas Mavericks have been the best NBA team so far in terms of points scored at the half and have been leading in almost all of them. Their first half score average has been 60 points and largely led by the efforts of Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson and Dirk Nowitzki. They have completely dominated and the next best team is Golden State who is averaging 4 points lower than them (and we know how good they are).
The Mavericks seem to have gone into the mode of scoring heavy in the first half, leading and then taking it a bit easy while losing most of their 3 quarter battles with -12.8 scoring margin differential in the 3rd quarter. Dallas has also been knocking an average of 5 threes in the 1st half compared to 3 in the 2nd half. They are a slightly older team with players energy dwindling in the 2nd half as a possible explanation for a 2nd half collapse. They take on Utah whose average points differential has been -6.2 in the 1st half compared to Mavericks +15 which could be a challenge for them.
The Jazz will be facing a Mavericks team who will be going all out in the 1st quarter as they have in the 1st half especially after they lost last night against Portland, but the advantage is that they packed it in early with their players playing a maximum of 27 minutes; keeping them a bit more fresh for tonight.
I expect Mavericks to continue their good form and secure a 1st half lead.
MIN Timberwolves to beat ORL Magic @ 1.67 (888Sport) – 2 points
Minnesota are coming into this game against the Orlando Magic after beating a strong Brooklyn Nets outfit and things have started coming together for them. With a talented starting lineup of Pekovic, Young, Wiggins, Martin and Rubio this team has what it takes to make a run for the playoffs next year after this team develops some experience. The talent was in full exhibition as they beat Brooklyn by 7 points despite being major underdogs. Kevin Martin has come back into that crazy scoring form that he usually has been in, averaging 23.7 points over the season and 29.5 in his last 2 teams, so I expect him to continue that run.
The Orlando Magic finally got their first win this season as I predicted against a weak PHI 76ers team, but literally did it on the buzzer beater shot from Harris. The game was extremely close all the way, and when you are soo close against such a weak team like Philly, questions have to be asked on how much will you survive against a good Minnesota team. All the offense for the Magic relies on Vucevic, Harris and Fournier. They have some decent veterans but only Channing Frye has had a decent impact. Ben Gordon has been hit and miss depending on his mood in particular games.
Minnesota have covered the spread in all of their games, and with tonight’s spread of 3, I can definitely think if they keep up their momentum they should be able to win this game.