Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies – NBA, February 17, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 17, 2021 9:52 am PDT

Both of these Western Conference teams are situated outside the playoff spots. Although the Grizzlies are five places above the Thunder, they are still just as far off of making the playoffs. They are both on 11 wins and find themselves cut adrift from the top eight in the West, so this is a crucial game for one of these to make a move and close the growing gap.

The recent head-to-head record favors the Grizzlies as they have won four of the previous five matchups, which includes winning the last two played in Memphis. Although when you go back over the previous ten games between them, it’s the Thunder who have come out on top more often than not. However, in those games, the Grizzlies have shot and rebounded much better. Perhaps then the key to victory for them will be retaining possession better tonight.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Thunder vs. Grizzlies betting prediction.

Thunder vs. Grizzlies Odds

Thunder (+7.5) -110
Grizzlies (-7.5) -110
Thunder To Win +225
Grizzlies To Win -275
Over 223.5 Points -110
Under 223.5 Points -110

The spread is a good four points bigger than I anticipated for this one, so there could certainly be some value within this market.

The Grizzlies haven’t done too well with the added pressure of being favorites this season as they have a negative record of 4-5 from their nine games.

Thunder News

The Thunder have struggled for consistency recently and have failed to post back-to-back victories in their previous ten matches. In those ten games, they have won only three of them and what is more concerning is those three wins came at home. This doesn’t quite tell the whole story, though, as they haven’t played too badly during this poor run of form. They pushed the Lakers into overtime in back-to-back games and also went down narrowly by two points to the Nuggets. The Thunder also picked up a good win over the Bucks recently, so it’s not all bad news.

Oklahoma City has a split record of seven wins and seven defeats from their 14 games on the road this season, which shows their lack of consistency but also shows that they are no pushovers either. They have lost their last three on the road in a row, but they were those close games against the Lakers and the Nuggets. Before that, they had a good couple of wins over Portland and Phoenix.

Here are the latest betting trends for Oklahoma City:

  • They have won four of their last five games against the spread.
  • However, they have lost the last five against the spread when facing the Grizzlies.
  • The Thunder have won their last six games against the spread on their travels.
  • Four of the previous five games played in Memphis between them have gone over the betting total.
  • Oklahoma has only won one of their last six games against Western Conference opposition.
  • Only two old their previous eight games against teams in the Southwest Division has failed to go under the points total.

The biggest thing for me here is how much the bookmakers have underestimated the Thunder recently, and this game could be no different.

The Thunder have a poor offense this season that hasn’t shot well, particularly from range. They have the second-worst rebounding figures in the league, which does not make for a sharp attack.

Their defense hasn’t been a great deal better, in truth, which has mostly been down to an underperforming attack because they have defended well this season. Spending so much time without the ball eventually takes its toll, and they crumble.

The good news is their defense has done much better on the road this season and has conceded four points per game less on average.

They have also rebounded well defensively, and in complete contrast to their offensive rebounding, they have the second-best average per game in the NBA this season.

The Thunder are very disciplined at the back, and I don’t think their defense gets the credit they deserve.

I think the Thunder are better than their position in the standings suggests, and they are certainly a tough team to crack.

Oklahoma will miss Ariza and Hill, and Gilgeous-Alexander remains doubtful.

Grizzlies News

The Grizzlies have also struggled as of late, winning only two of their previous eight games. However, those two wins came in their last four games, so perhaps things are heading in the right direction for them. They can’t seem to play two games the same back to back as they have alternated big margin wins with heavy defeats in those last four games.

They have a poor record at home, having won only four of their 12 games in Memphis this season. Those four wins came in their previous seven home matches, so things have been improving for them recently.

Here are the latest betting trends for Memphis:

  • They have only won two of their previous eight games against the spread.
  • Their last five matches have all gone over the betting total.
  • Eight of their previous 12 games against the Thunder have gone over the points total.
  • However, the Grizzlies games have lacked bite at home as 14 of the last 20 have gone under the betting total.
  • Memphis has lost four of their previous five matches against the spread when facing teams in the Western Conference.
  • The Grizzlies are 6-2 against the spread when playing teams from the Northwest Division.
  • They have won four of their last six games played at home on a Wednesday night.

The above information highlights how unpredictable the Grizzlies have been as of late as nearly all of the trends contradict each other.

Memphis has an average offense that shoots decent enough most nights. However, it hasn’t been as good at home, averaging four points fewer per game than their overall average. They simply haven’t been as accurate at home as they have been on the road.

However, they have made the most assists in the league this season, showing what an excellent passing side they can be.

Their defense is good, but in contrast to the Thunder’s defense, it’s hard to understand precisely why when you look at their stats for the season. Granted, they have made the most number of steals per game in the NBA this season, which will contribute, but they still lack in other areas.

The Grizzlies are a very hot and cold team this season that has run cold more often than hot. You usually find more consistency from a well-rounded team, but for one reason or another, that hasn’t been the case for Memphis this season.

The Grizzlies will miss Winslow and Jackson Junior tonight, and there remain doubts over Melton, Bane, and Tillie, who all face late fitness tests.

Thunder vs. Grizzlies Betting Pick

  • Thunder (+7.5)

It can be dangerous to bet against a team like the Grizzlies that can be world beaters on one night and look like a G League team the next. However, as stated from the very beginning, the spread seems too big here, and it looks even more appealing given the injuries that Memphis has right now.



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