No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 1 Utah Jazz Betting Preview
Line: Utah -5
When: Saturday, 5/29 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Ja Morant’s 47-point performance was not enough in Game 2, but the Grizzlies did their job in Utah — they stole home court advantage.
Oddsmakers are projecting that Utah takes it right back on Saturday night, though. The Jazz are listed as five-point road favorites for the primetime affair that will be aired on ESPN. There has been no line movement since the number opened and Utah is now -600 to win the series.
The total has seen some movement, going from 222.5 to 224 as of Friday afternoon. Game 1 went ‘over’ 216.5 and Game 2 flew ‘over’ 219.5 (with more than nine minutes left), so the number has seen a big adjustment since the series started.
Memphis won a pair of play-in tournament games to get into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. It built on that momentum in Sunday’s series opener, taking advantage of a Donovan Mitchell-less Utah team. The Grizzlies captured a 112-109 win after Mitchell was scratched shortly before the game tipped off.
Utah closed as an eight-point favorite and the betting market was not dissuaded by the result. The Jazz went off as 10-point favorites in Game 2, barely covering the spread in a 141-129 shootout.
Mitchell made up for lost time, scoring 25 points in his return from a sprained ankle. He had 12 points in the first eight minutes of the game, including three triples. Head coach Quin Snyder limited him to 26 minutes.
Morant’s 47 points were a franchise record, but it was not enough to top the home team’s balanced scoring output. Rudy Gobert tallied 21 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Point guard Mike Conley—a former Grizzly—scored 20 points and dished out a career-high 15 assists. Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points and the Jazz led by as many as 22 points in the first half.
Morant powered a second-half comeback, but he did not get enough help. Dillon Brooks had another great game, though, scoring 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting despite dealing with foul trouble. Memphis could not slow down Utah’s offense, which knocked down 19 treys at a 48.7% clip.
The Jazz have now won seven of their last eight games against Memphis. They will be up against a tough challenge at FedExForum, where the Grizzlies have won their last five games. Memphis has gone ‘under’ the betting total in 12 of its last 13 home games against Utah.
The defensive struggles have been surprising for a Utah team that ranked third in points allowed per game (107.2) during the regular season. Memphis finished at No. 16 defensively (112.3 PPG) and No. 15 offensively (113.3 PPG). Gobert is a lock to win the Defensive Player of the Year award with odds of -4000, and he met Morant at the rim for a nasty block in Game 2.
Despite its recent success, Memphis is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven games. The Grizzlies are 17-6 ATS with 11 outright wins in their last 23 games as underdogs, and they’re 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following a double-digit loss.
Utah is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games as a road favorite and is 25-12 ATS in its last 37 games following a cover. The total has gone ‘over’ in six of its last nine games.
The pick: Under 224
I think there is going to be a reset from both teams after Game 2’s offensive explosion. The Jazz have been efficient offensively all season, but they are No. 16 in pace of play. They are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and have the DPOY down low, so I expect a bounce back on that end of the court. Morant does not get enough help offensively and he is not going to score 47 points again. Both teams have had two days to rest and should bring a high level of defensive intensity with the series leveled. The ‘under’ has cashed in 12 of the last 13 games between these teams in Memphis and there has been a huge market adjustment after two games—this is usually a good time to pounce.