The Memphis Grizzlies are the most profitable NBA pick there is – but they still have value for Friday’s tilt with the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Friday, April 01, 2022 – 08:00 PM EDT at FedExForum
It’s been a long and winding road for the Memphis Grizzlies. This franchise was born into poverty; the Vancouver Grizzlies were given a raw deal when they were founded in 1995, forced to play with a reduced salary cap for two years, and denied a shot at the top draft pick for three years.
The fan base was strong, but these punitive measures – and the reluctance of players like Steve Francis to make the trip north – left the Grizzlies in disarray.
It would take another decade after the 2001 move to Memphis for the Grizzlies to win their first playoff series. But here they are now on top of the Southwest Division at 54-23 SU and a league-best 50-27 ATS.
The Grizz have never played better – yet they’re still a value NBA pick this Friday when they face the only team ahead of them in the standings, the almighty Phoenix Suns (62-14 SU, 42-34 ATS).
Big Hard Suns
The hype train for Phoenix is real. After winning nine straight games at 7-2 ATS, the Suns opened as 2.5-point road favorites on Friday’s NBA odds board at Caesars Sportsbook, and remain there at press time. Chris Paul is back in the lineup after an extended injury layoff, reuniting the Big Three of Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton that made it all the way to last year’s Finals.
But the Suns didn’t cover the last time they played. We recommended the Golden State Warriors in this space for Wednesday’s game in San Fran; the Warriors were 7-point home dogs after it was suggested that Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Otto Porter Jr. would all be given the night off. Then the Dubs ended up playing all three, but they still got paid as 5-point puppies when Phoenix won 107-103.
Less is Morant
Friday’s matchup shares many of the same characteristics as that hard-fought contest. While Golden State didn’t have Stephen Curry (foot) in the lineup, Memphis will be without their point guard and best player, Ja Morant. His right knee started acting up a couple of weeks ago; Morant hasn’t seen the court since March 18.
Much like Golden State and Curry, taking Morant out of the equation should give Memphis some betting value in this matchup. The Grizz are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS since Morant last played, with Tyus Jones filling in and providing more than just yeoman service. And there’s plenty more talent left in the cupboard. Memphis has almost all their deep roster intact aside from Morant, who might be the only Grizzly most causal NBA fans can name.
As we saw Wednesday, roster situations in this league are fluid, and we’re not sure at press time whether JaVale McGee (illness) or Cameron Johnson (quadriceps) will be available for Phoenix. But their absence definitely helped Golden State get the cover at the NBA odds. Let’s see if the same thing happens Friday night in Memphis.
NBA Pick: Grizzlies +3 (-110) at DraftKings