The Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers are two of the teams that will be competing for the final seed in the Western Conference. When the season paused, Memphis had a 3.5-game lead on the Trail Blazers for the eighth seed. This will be one of the most meaningful games of the bubble.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers
- Point Spread: Trail Blazers -1
- Total: 222.5
- Season Series: Grizzlies 1-0
When the seeding schedule was announced last week, one of the first games I looked for was this matchup. The more experienced Trail Blazers opened as a 1-point favorite and have remained the favorite. Portland played in the Western Conference Finals last season, but injuries and poor play made 2020 a tough season for them. Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, and the Blazers showed flashes at times, but their play was inconsistent. A big help for the Blazers will be the return of center Jusuf Nurkic. Last season before a horrible injury ended his year, Nurkic was averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.
When more people start to bet on this game, my guess is that public bettors and sharp bettors will back the veteran Blazers. I think that will be a mistake. Rookie of the Year front runner Ja Morant plays with no fear, and he has lit a fire under this organization.
Grizzlies insider Liaudwin Seabury Jr. had this to say about the young Grizzlies team:
"Playing with nothing to lose, the Grizzlies certainly understand the importance of the last eight games. They also realize that no one thought this squad's rise to playoff contention would be this season".
I like that Memphis is playing with house money. By the time this game tips-off, the Blazers will likely be a 3.5-point favorite. I will place my bet on the underdog Grizzlies and sprinkle something on the money line. Let's also not forget that Memphis is the favorite to be the eighth seed in the West.
THE PLAY: MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (+1)