NBA Odds & Picks for Trail Blazers vs. Grizzlies: Back Memphis in Key Western Conference Clash (Wednesday, April 28)

Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant.

Trail Blazers vs. Grizzlies Odds

Trail Blazers Odds +2.5
Grizzlies Odds -2.5
Moneyline +115 / -140
Over/Under 235
Time Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
TV League Pass
Odds as of Tuesday and via PointsBet

For the third time in less than a week, the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies are set to face off. The first two matchups took place in Portland, which did not stop Memphis from heading out of town with two wins. 

These teams sit in the mess that is competing for playoff position in the Western Conference. Any win against a team you’re directly competing with at this point in the season could make a big difference at the end of the season.

In a high-leverage game, both teams will do everything they can to get the victory. The Trail Blazers will not use any restrictions despite this being on a back-to-back. Let’s see if the extra urgency can make the third time the charm for Portland. 

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Portland Trail Blazers

Portland has fallen to a miserable rut since the start of April, going 4-10 after an impressive win on Tuesday night. Their poor play has them only doing better than the Thunder, Rockets, and Magic all of which are tanking. While their defense is one of the worst in the league, this cold streak looks to be the offense’s fault.

Portland’s defense entered Tuesday night ranked 25th in Defensive Rating at 114.4 on the month per NBA.com. While this is really bad, it’s actually an improvement from their 116.1 and 29th rank on the year. 

The offense though has fallen considerably from their season totals in April. On the year, Portland entered Tuesday sixth with an Offensive Rating of 115.6. This has fallen all the way to 112.8 (12th).

The player having the most trouble finding his rhythm is star Damian Lillard. Lillard’s points per game is down more than six points per game this month. The far drop-off has come from Lillard’s efficiency dropping to uncharacteristically low levels. His 37.1% shooting percentage coming into Tuesday night was 6% lower than any other month he played at least five games, per Basketball-Reference

Portland is fortunate to be only one game back of the sixth seed and a guaranteed playoff spot despite their cold streak. Dame finding his way against the Grizzlies would be a big boost for their end-of-year prospects and playoff position.

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Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis started off April on a four-game win streak but has since cooled off. Part of their issue has been the level of competition, with nine of the Grizzlies’ past 11 games coming against playoff-bound teams. 

Superior opposition has been able to make Memphis uncomfortable and get it off its game. Typically, the Grizzlies focus on playing a defensive style and playing in transition to create offense. In this 11-game run, though, they are down to a 115.0 Defensive Rating, which ranks 24th per NBA.com. They are also down in steals per game from the top of the league to seventh.

But as their defense has suffered, their offense has clicked. In the past 11 games, the Grizzlies are up to an Offensive Rating of 114.7 ranking seventh. The big change for the offense has simply come in their ability to make their shots. On the year Memphis ranks middle of the pack in shooting efficiency but is all the way up to fourth during their hot offensive stretch.

If Memphis can pair their newfound offensive dominance with the defense we saw early in the year they will be a tough matchup early in the playoffs.

Trail Blazers-Grizzlies Pick

Portland will be attempting to overcome its cold streak on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Blazers will be going all-out to try to win each of these games, and the travel is also counting against them.

On the court, do you believe in Portland’s newfound defense or Memphis’s revamped offense more? With fatigue being a factor and Portland generally not being defensive-minded, the Grizzlies’ offense gets the edge here. Had this game not been a back-to-back I may view things differently. However, Memphis’s active defense and fast-paced offense has me thinking Portland just will not have the legs to keep up all game.

Back Memphis and their gritty style to beat Portland.

Pick: Grizzlies -2.5 (play to -4)

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