Wizards vs. Grizzlies NBA Preview

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies in action against the Washington Wizards. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies in action against the Washington Wizards. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP


The remainder of the NBA regular season gets started Wednesday night with a couple of games on tap and one is Washington at Memphis.

Washington sits 12th in the Eastern Conference and is just two games back in standings behind No. 8 Toronto for the final playoff off spot. The Wizards will have a slightly more ambitious second half of the season, having played at least two fewer games than all the potential other playoff teams. However, Washington has figured out what they do best and has won eight of 11 (9-2 ATS) to get themselves back into contention.

Memphis started the year well but has labored since Groundhog’s Day at 7-10 (8-9 ATS), seldom able to put offense and defense together from one night to the next. The Grizzlies are 10th in the West and positioned to make a run, it’s just a matter of assembling all the pieces to make that occur.

At bet365, the opening NBA spread was Memphis at -1.5 with a total of 236.5, however, that has been changed to the Grizzlies at -3 and the total at 237. Let’s break this down from one of the best betting sites and understand what we have.


Washington Wizards vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at FedExForum

Washington Has Hard Decision

The Wizards (14-20 SU, 18-16 ATS) have one of the best guard tandems in the NBA in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. Combined they are averaging over 53 points a game. Beal is playing the best basketball of his career and it’s not lost on many keen observers that Westbrook has opened up more shooting room for Beal by driving and kicking the ball out. At the same time, Westbrook has more room to roam because opposing teams have to be aware of Beal at all times.

There are those in the NBA that think Washington should trade Westbrook who’s 32, and his trade value would never be higher. Nobody can argue that point, but how much better are the Wizards going to be this season and say the next two, still needing several more players, even as forward Rui Hachimura develops?

If you trade Westbrook, doesn’t that hinder Beal, since a likely replacement is not going to have Westbrook’s skill and unbridled passion? The Wizards are years from being an East contender, why not give their fans a reason to watch and back their team for NBA picks?


Memphis Poised to Make a Playoff Push?

Starting tonight and over the next 71 days, Memphis will play 40 times. That’s a lot of basketball, however, others are in the same boat, just not all of them are playing to make the postseason. Some clubs are already assured of playing in the late spring and others will be planning summer vacations before Memorial Day.

Ja Morant is expected to have a big second half. He’s the unquestioned leader and his game continues to expand and he makes those around him, even if they have limited skills, better by his efforts.

The return of Justise Winslow can be a huge addition, as he offers the Grizzlies a player who can play all 94-feet as a contributor. His offense still needs work after the long layoff, nevertheless, if he works and gains confidence, Morant will find him.

Jaren Jackson Jr. cannot come back soon enough. Though he’ll be on minutes watch from the start, if Memphis can start putting the pieces together right from the beginning and add Jackson into the mix and have him playing 24 or more minutes by mid to late April, the Grizzlies can reach the playoffs. For now, Memphis wants to win and keep improving and add the pieces as they become available.


The Point Spread Winner

While Washington is appealing for NBA picks as an underdog, with a recent record of 7-1 ATS, Memphis has not been a good matchup for them. Specifically, the Wizards are 1-6 ATS in their latest meetings and  they are 5-15-1 ATS not far from Beale State where the nightlife is fun and BBQ is delicious.

Though Washington averages three more points a game than the Grizzlies, in terms of offensive efficiency, the home team holds a slight edge (19 vs. 21 in said rankings). Where the Griz do a better job is on defense, listed T-7 in defensive efficiency versus the Wizards way down at 27th. Knowing this, Memphis is the winner.

NBA Pick: Grizzlies -3 at bet365