Toronto Raptors vs. Memphis Grizzlies – NBA, February 8, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 8, 2021 5:17 am PDT

These two teams currently sit outside the playoff positions in each of their respected Conferences, so a win today will be crucial in their pursuit to clinch one of the eight berths.

The Raptors have owned this fixture lately, winning the last five games between them, including winning the previous two meetings in Memphis.

When you analyze the last ten head-to-head games, one thing is clear: the Raptors are outlasting the Grizzlies. The average half time score is 52 points each, but the Raptors average nine more second-half points than Memphis. Toronto’s three-point shooting has been far superior also.

Let’s look at the game odds before breaking things down and concluding with my Raptors vs. Grizzlies betting selection.

Raptors vs. Grizzlies Odds

Raptors (-2.5) -110
Grizzlies (+2.5) -110
Raptors To Win -136
Grizzlies To Win +122
Over 225.5 Points -110
Under 225.5 Points -110

The early money has come for the Raptors as the spread has increased from -1 to -2.5. This is presumably because of the Raptor’s dominance over the Grizzlies recently. The points total looks very high, especially when you consider that the combined average score over the last ten head to head meetings is only 203 points.

The Grizzlies have performed relatively well as underdogs this season by winning six of the ten games they entered as outsiders.

Raptors Analysis

The Raptors appeared to have put their poor form behind them by winning three games in a row, but that good work was undone in their 11 point loss to the Hawks last time out.

Their form on the road this season has been awful, winning only four of their 12 matches. However, three of those wins came in their last five games, so perhaps things are on the up for them. Two of those wins came against the Pacers and the Nets, games they would have been expected to lose.

Here are the latest betting trends for Toronto:

  • Their last five games have all gone over the betting total.
  • They have won the last seven games in a row against the Grizzlies when betting in the handicap market.
  • Four of their previous five games on the road have gone over the points total.
  • Toronto is 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six games played in Memphis.
  • They have only won two of their previous nine games against Western Conference opposition.
  • The Raptors have a great record playing in February, having won 15 of their last 20 games played in that month.

Toronto has an average offense this season that has been very inconsistent. They have failed to break their opponent’s downtime after time this season, and they have had to rely on their three-point shooting more often than not.

This has meant trying to force the issue more often than not, which has led to a low field goal percentage of 44%. This is a shame when you see how good they are at shooting from the free-throw line, so it’s not down to their shooting ability. They need to create more opportunities.

However, this hasn’t always been the case on the road, where they have performed slightly better than they have at home.

Their defense follows a similar pattern, which overall makes them a very middle of the road kind of team. Their defense hasn’t done as well on the road, so it is clear to see that they must be focusing on their attack more away from home.

Rebounding has been a problem in defense as they currently have the second-lowest average made per game in the league. Their offensive rebounding hasn’t been much better this season, either.

However, they do work hard and produce many steals per game, but it’s pointless if they aren’t using the ball well when they retrieve it. Although this can sometimes come at a cost as they commit many personal fouls doing so. Combining these two bits of information, you have to question if this ploy is worth it? Perhaps they would be better sitting back and trying to perform more rebounds.

It’s easy to say in hindsight, I guess, and they missed OG Anunoby’s aggressive defending last time out against the Hawks, and they will again miss him tonight. However, Fred Van Vleet did his best to pick up the slack for his team and proved what an asset he is for the Raptors. The 2016 undrafted player showed the whole world what you could achieve if you never give up on your dreams when he posted the highest score in his franchise’s history recently.

All of the above makes the Raptors sound like they don’t have a great team, but that isn’t the case. When you see the players they have in their roster, you have to wonder why aren’t they doing better—players like rising star Chris Boucher who is taking the league by storm this storm.

As previously mentioned, the Raptors are missing Anunoby and shooting guard McCaw, who has a knee injury.

Grizzlies Analysis

The Grizzlies have had a very stop-start this season and, as a result, have played by far the least games in the league. Of the 18 games they have played to date, they have won nine and lost nine.

After winning seven games straight, Memphis has lost their last three, which is a big concern. However, they lost three games in a row directly before their recent win streak, so they will be hoping that history repeats itself starting tonight.

They have been terrible at home this season and have only won three of their nine games in Memphis. Although it isn’t all bad news as those three wins came in their previous four home games. What is more impressive is they beat the Nets, 76ers, and the Suns, all outstanding teams.

Here are the latest betting trends for Memphis:

  • Ten of their last 15 games have gone under the betting total.
  • This trend has continued at home as seven of their previous eight games in Memphis have followed suit.
  • It doesn’t stop there either, as 13 of their last 17 games played against teams from the Eastern Conference has gone under the points total.
  • The Grizzlies are 2-8 against the spread in their last ten games played in February.
  • They have won five of their previous six games played on a Monday night.
  • Memphis has thrived being the underdogs recently by winning five of their last six games that they entered as the outsider.

The stats don’t read well for the Grizzlies offense this season. However, when you watch them, you wouldn’t know it as they have plenty of ability. They don’t spend enough time in possession, which is hurting them right now. This is such a surprise as they pass the ball so well and have the highest average number of assists per game in the league. They also have the highest average number of steals, so what is going wrong? They are often too rushed in possession, which does lead to many assists, but then it also means they make mistakes as well.

Their defense is the complete opposite as, at times, they appear non-existent, but their stats suggest otherwise.

The thing I like most about the Grizzlies is their team unity. They don’t rely on one or two players; every one of their players plays a role for their team.

The Grizzlies continue to suffer from injuries this season, and they now find six players on the injury list, which is mounting up. They will be without Winslow, Melton, Jackson Junior, Clarke, McDermott, and Tillie.

Raptors vs. Grizzlies Betting Pick

Ordinarily, I would choose a great team to beat a team of great players, which we have here. However, with the injuries adding up for the Grizzlies, it’s easy to see why the money is coming for them. That doesn’t mean I will go against my gut feeling for the Grizzlies, but it does mean I won’t be picking them either. Neither team has the best offense in the league, and given the low scoring games they have shared recently, I will take under the point’s total tonight.

Pick
  • Under 225.5 Points
    -110

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