It’s a toss-up this Friday between the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies, but the Under has been a profitable NBA pick thus far.
Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Friday, November 12, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at FedExForum
You never know what you’re going to get from the Phoenix Suns (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) these days. That’s because they keep switching players. Deandre Ayton has missed four of the last five games with a lower right leg contusion; Landry Shamet joined Ayton on the sidelines this Wednesday with a right foot contusion. Both players are considered questionable for Friday’s tilt with the Memphis Grizzlies (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS).
Despite that uncertainty, DraftKings have opened this contest as a pick’em on their NBA odds board. That looks like a tight line, too, at least according to some of the projections for this matchup. This might be a good spot to take the Under instead; we don’t have a posted total yet at press time, but the way players are struggling to grip the new Wilson ball, this could be a solid choice for your NBA picks until further notice.
Me And JaVale McGee
But are these the right two teams to get the job done? The Under is 6-4 for Phoenix and 6-5 for Memphis thus far, even though they both run up and down the floor pretty quickly – especially the Suns, who rank fifth in the league at 103.6 possessions per game. These are also two middling teams in terms of defense, and somewhat better on offense, so you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to grit and grind their way to a low-scoring finish.
Ayton’s absence might be the key. Three of the four games he missed went Under, in part because he’s been replaced in the starting lineup by JaVale McGee, who hasn’t produced on offense the way Ayton has. McGee has an Offensive Rating of 109 at Basketball Reference; Ayton’s rating is 116, meaning he’s produced about seven more points per 100 possessions than his backup. Shamet (119) has also outperformed his most immediate competition for backup guard minutes, Cameron Payne (96).
New Balls Please
The Grizzlies are at close to full health for this matchup, so there isn’t anything too worrying on their part to watch for at the morning shoot-around, but it’s definitely worth waiting before you bet to see if Ayton and/or Shamet will be active, with Ayton being the biggest question mark. The Suns are still winning and covering games without him; it’s the total that Ayton’s absence should impact more reliably.
As for that Wilson ball, you’ve probably seen this reported elsewhere already, but players have expressed their unhappiness with the new equipment, saying it doesn’t grip as easily as the old balls from Spalding – even though both are made of leather. The Under is 102-65 (61.1 percent) heading into Thursday’s action. Eventually the betting market will catch up, or the players will develop a feel for the new Wilsons, but until they do, it should be worth a small bet on the Under for almost every game on the schedule.
NBA Pick: Under 220.5 (-109) at MaximBet