Preview and pick for Suns at Grizzlies
The Phoenix Suns (18-10) travel to Memphis to run and gun with the Grizzlies (13-12) Saturday. The 9:00 p.m. ET tipoff showed the Suns as a 4-point road favorite this morning before shooting up to -6.5 at leading online sportsbooks. The total dipped to 224.5 at BetOnline and is 225 at BookMaker, as Grizzlies SG Dillon Brooks was ruled out of tonight's game as I write this and modify the posted line and total. Brooks missed last nights game with a thigh injury.
Next to the sizzling hot money-making Utah Jazz (22-8 ATS) with their league-best record of 24-6 , the Suns sport the next best Against the Spread mark in the NBA at 18-10 ATS. Phoenix sits in third place in the Pacific Division behind the LA Lakers (22-8) and LA Clippers (22-9), and are tied with Portland with the fourth best record in the West. Memphis has the ninth best record in the West, but are a solid 14-11 ATS and also 14-11 Over/Under.
Of note is some information a contact forwarded to me regarding these teams totals and pace. The Suns have won 7 of their last 8 games, and are off two high-scoring contests including last night’s 132-114 win at New Orleans. The Suns out-scored the Pelicans 41-12 in the fourth quarter and Chris Paul dished out a season-high 19 assists. Phoenix has averaged just over 121 points per game in its last six contests while shooting better than 50% on average in those games. The Suns rank top-10 in offensive and defensive efficiency, and their pace rating is slower.
Memphis just played New Orleans Feb. 16 and lost 144-113, but bounced back with a high-scoring home win over Oklahoma City, 122-113. The Grizzlies also played last night and conserved some energy in a 109-95 win over Detroit. That snapped the Grizzlies over the total streak at seven straight games. The tempo for Memphis has climbed in recent weeks as the Grizzlies have gone 10-2 over the total in their last 12 contests.
The Grizzlies have shown an interest in pushing the pace with opponents that like prefer that style. In 10 games in which Memphis games had a posted total of 224 or higher, the Grizzlies are 7-3 to the over including six straight recently. Those games have averaged nearly 240 points per game.
The Suns pace is not as fast, but note the two recent games by Phoenix, and energy used in both teams games last night suggests less effort and strength on the defensive end. If good shooting follows, this game has a good chance to still go over the total, although the injury situation to Dillon Brooks is a concern. Still, the game fists a positive large sample size profile that hits over the total better than 68% of the time.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay