Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards Betting Preview – NBA, March 2, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| March 2, 2021 9:17 am PDT

Washington takes on Memphis as the Southeast meets the Southwest in this cross-conference matchup. Both teams have struggled at times this season, and as such, they are both outside the playoff positions. However, they are both not far off of the eighth spot, and a win here will keep them in the hunt.

The Grizzlies have had the better of things between the two, recently winning three of their last four encounters. This includes winning on their previous visit to the capital state. That win ended a run of five straight defeats on the road against the Wizards.

Grizzlies vs. Wizards Odds

Grizzlies -1-105
Wizards +1-115
Grizzlies To Win-110
Wizards To Win-110
Over 237.5 Points-110
Under 237.5 Points-110

According to the bookmakers, this matchup is as close as they come, and it’s hard to disagree with that. However, the total points look massive, and I had to double-take when I first saw it. The last time they met, the bookmakers did precisely the same thing. The points total was set at 241, and there were only 205 points scored. Can lightning strike twice here?

Grizzlies News

The Grizzlies have a split record of 15-15 from their 30 matches this season, proving that they are a formidable team to beat on their night. They have won two of their previous three games, both by huge margins. They beat the Clippers by 28 and then the Rockets by 49 points last time out. They dominated the win against Houston by winning all four quarters of the game comfortably, condemning the Rockets to an 11th straight defeat.

The excellent form seems to have coincided with the return of Justice Winslow. Winslow has had a torrid time of things since his move from the Heat in the early part of last year. He was nursing a back injury when he joined and then had his debut postponed due to the current worldwide pandemic. When the restrictions lifted, he suffered a hip injury and spent a further seven months on the side-lines. However, he is back and fighting fit, and the Grizzlies seem to be enjoying having him around.

They have been decent on the road this season, winning eight and losing five of their 13 away fixtures. The Grizzlies have also won two of their previous three away games, again both comfortably.

Here are the latest betting trends for Memphis:

  • Five of their last six matches have gone under the betting total.
  • They have only lost one of their previous six games against the spread when facing Washington.
  • Memphis is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games on the road.
  • The Grizzlies have won five of their last seven games against teams from the Eastern Conference.
  • They have won nine of their previous 11 games against the spread when taking on teams in the Southeast Division.

The Grizzlies have a relatively poor offense that averages 111 points per game. This would undoubtedly improve if they increased their low three-point percentage of 35%.

They have rebounded well in attack, and generally, you would say that they have plenty of ability going forward, but perhaps they don’t always show it. They are easy on the eye to watch and pass the ball exceptionally well, which begs the question, why haven’t they done better this season? Is it a lack of work ethic? I don’t think that is the case. If you look at how many steals they make per game, I think it shows you how hard they work as a team.

Their defense is good and concedes on average 110 points per game. They don’t particularly mark their opponents well, but they tend to slow them down and frustrate them into making mistakes.

Memphis will miss Jackson Junior for this game, while Allen remains questionable to feature.

Wizards News

The wizards are playing their best basketball of the season at present, having only lost two of their previous nine games. They both came against excellent opposition in the form of the Clippers and the Celtics most recently. The narrow one-point defeat against the Celtics will have been a bitter pill to swallow, given they lost the game in the final 15 seconds of the match.

They haven’t played well at home this season and have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have only won six of their 15 games in Washington this season. However, four of those wins came in their previous four home games, so things are improving. Apart from the two-point win over the Nuggets, their other three wins came by margins of 13, 12, and 16.

Here are the latest betting trends for Washington:

  • The Wizards have only lost one of their previous nine games against the spread.
  • Five of their last seven matches against the Grizzlies have gone under the betting total.
  • They have won four of their previous five home matches against the spread.
  • Washington has won six of their last seven games against teams from the West Coast.
  • The total has gone over in 12 of their previous 12 games against teams based in the Southwest Division.
  • Seven of their last nine games played on a Tuesday have gone over the points total.

The Wizards have a great offense despite not particularly shooting well this season, especially from three-point range. They have an excellent driving and dribbling game and have averaged 114 points per match. Bizarrely their offense has been much better at home despite their poor record as they have averaged five more points per game.

Bradley Beal has been the catalyst behind their attack, and he leads the league in scoring. He comes into this game in fine form, having scored 46 points against the Celtics. He was very disgruntled after the defeat and held no punches when questioned afterward.

Their defense is terrible and has conceded on average 119 points per game, making them the second-worst defensive team in the league. This isn’t helped by their blocking, which wouldn’t stop traffic at peak time in the capital!

They are too ill-disciplined and sometimes borderline arrogant, which helps in attack but doesn’t in defense.

Point Guard Russell Westbrook has proven that you are never too old to keep learning, improving, and evolving this season as the nine-time All-Star is upon his career rebounding and assists this season. At times, I feel he could be a bit more vocal to lead the team and help manage the younger players during the game.

The Wizards will be without Smith and Bryant for this matchup.

Grizzlies vs. Wizards Pick

Pick
  • Under 237.5 Points
    -110

These two teams come into this game in excellent form, and this should be the close, entertaining game that most have predicted. For that reason, it is a challenging game to call, and I, for one, will be sitting on the fence. However, I still feel that the points total looks too big, especially as the two teams have combined for less than 27 points of the total set here in their previous ten meetings. They are also averaging 12 points less combined this season.

These facts are too hard to ignore, so I will take under the points total here.

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