(4) Portland Trail Blazers v. (5) Memphis Grizzlies
Blazers odds to win 2015 Title: 40/1
Grizzlies odds to win 2015 Title: 33/1
Blazers odds to win West: 22/1
Grizzlies odds to win West: 12/1
Odds c/o Bovada
Series Prices: MEM -180; POR +155
Odds c/o Bookmaker
This is one of the series fans are most eager to see due to how evenly matched the opponents are. Despite that, both teams come in banged and bandaged. It will be crucial as to how injuries affect this series, but opening odds at Bookmaker gave the Memphis Grizzlies as favorites with -180 series odds prices. The NBA Daily lines showed the Grizzlies with a better chance to win the West at 12/1, while Portland was granted 22/1 odds. For an explanation of how to bet NBA odds, see our NBA odds explained.
Portland’s star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is nursing a foot injury but will be ready to play. But the Blazers will be without Arron Afflalo (shoulder) and Wes Matthews (torn Achilles), both of whom were absolutely crucial for three-point shooting. With both 2-guards on the shelf, a lot will be expected of C.J. McCollum who is expected to play but coming off an ankle injury. Chris Kaman (back) is expected to play, but Dorrell Wright is also out with a broken hand. The team is beat up, simply.
Memphis doesn’t have quite the extent of injury, but is hurting in one of its most crucial components: its point guard. Mike Conley is struggling with an ankle injury and that may make the job of covering All-Star Blazer Damian Lillard all the more difficult. If Conley is even fractions of a second slower than his typically superb defense, Lillard will absolutely exploit it and punish him.
Since Conley is listed as questionable with the sprain in his foot, it might be best to wait until he is more closely resemblant of 100 percent health. The thought is that this is the playoffs and it is time to play, but Conley may not be up to the task of covering Lillard. And yet he has to be.
Zach Randolph is expected to play but is coming off an ankle injury and Jeff Green is questionable with a tight lower back. Tony Allen is still rehabbing a hamstring injury but will be playing. Allen’s primary contribution is intense defense too, so it will have to be closely observed how much the hammy inhibits his natural defensive slides and motions.
His perimeter defense will be crucial on Nicolas Batum who is expected to play for the Blazers despite having sat out last game with a knee contusion.
Nic Batum isn’t really a scorer, but he can be, and with Matthews and Afflalo out, he will have to be. Batum will look to score more, or the Blazers have no shot in this series. But Portland can’t just be written off because Lillard and Aldridge represent one of the best tandems in the league. Both are difficult to stop, and Conley has his work very much cut out for him.
On the interior though, the Grizzlies are very tough with one-time Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol and All-Star Zach Randolph. It won’t be easy pickings for Aldridge, though his bread and butter step back jumper is entirely incontestable and unguardable for all opponents. Even with both Lillard and Aldridge playing their absolute best, Portland is going to miss Matthews and Afflalo a lot. It’s not a team overly stacked with depth, and losing a starter and top reserve is enough to cripple it against the Grizzlies who really only have to find a way to compensate if Conley is slowed or Lillard is red hot.
Prediction: Grizzlies in 6
Trail Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Over is 4-0 in Trail Blazers last 4 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points.
Trail Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.
Grizzlies are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 7-1-1 in Grizzlies last 9 Sunday games.
Under is 23-4 in Grizzlies last 27 home games.
Head to Head
Trail Blazers are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Under is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Memphis.
Trail Blazers are 11-5-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings in Memphis.