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NBA Computer Picks for March 10: Give Memphis Some Respect

Santi Aldama Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks
Santi Aldama #7 of the Memphis Grizzlies goes to the basket during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks. Justin Ford/Getty Images/AFP

The sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for today’s basketball action, and three games really interest me: Pacers vs. Magic, Nets vs. Cavaliers and Grizzlies vs. Thunder.

For your best bets, I will recommend investing in the Magic, Nets, and Grizzlies. My recommendations are backed by OddsTrader’s computer AI and by my handicapping.

Picks Summary

  • Magic -1.5 (-110)
  • Nets +7.5 (-110)
  • Grizzlies +15 (-110)

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

Sunday, March 10, 2024 – 06:00 PM ET at Kia Center


Our computers project an Orlando victory strong enough to result in a Magic cover. I agree with this projection and find that you should expect Orlando to have no difficulty with the short spread.

Indiana On The Road

This game will not be decided by three-pointers. Indiana backers will want to say that it will be, because the Pacers have, overall, been strong behind the arc.

The problem for Indiana is that “overall” does not include “on the road.” Whereas the Pacers shoot 39.6% from deep at home, their three-point conversion rate in road games plummets to 35%.

In terms of three-point shooting efficiency, they thus suffer the NBA’s worst decline from playing at home to playing on the road.

The Deciding Question

Because this game will not be played in Indiana, the Pacers won’t be able to rely on having what would have constituted a significant advantage for them as part of their endeavor to outscore Orlando’s offense.

The Magic, primarily, want to score at the basket because three-point shooting is not their strength. Led by guards and forwards who ably attack inside, they attempt the third-most field goals within five feet of the basket.

This game will be decided by each team’s relative ability to score at the basket because Indiana, too, is profoundly inclined to score at the basket.

The Pacers attempt the most field goals within five feet of the rim.

Orlando’s Rim Protection

I like Orlando because it does a much better job protecting the rim than Indiana does. The Magic do a great job working together to prevent players from achieving a favorable shot opportunity by driving to the basket.

You can see from video footage their strong positioning, as they converge upon ball-handlers while they approach inside. More than other teams, they have opponents attempt shots deep in the shot clock when the latter are desperate to avoid committing a shot clock violation.

All of this amounts to the Magic allowing the ninth-fewest made shots within five feet of the basket.

Indiana’s Rim Protection

Conversely, Indiana is struggling to defend well even with Myles Turner on the floor, but the Pacers struggle all the more so when he is off the floor. Turner is just one player. His presence does not suffice to make up for Indiana’s lack of perimeter defenders.

On defense, the Pacers also struggle in the low post. It is too easy for Indiana’s opponents to reach and finish at the basket. Hence, the Pacers allow the second-most field goals within five feet of the basket.

Orlando will win because it will have a significantly easier time scoring than Indiana.

NCAAB Pick: Magic -1.5 (-110) at Bet365


Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Sunday, March 10, 2024 – 07:00 PM ET at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse


Our computers indicate that Brooklyn will hang with Cleveland and cover the spread. I agree. Accordingly, you should play the Nets.

A Different Betting Approach

It is important to have multiple betting approaches because, for some games, some approaches aren’t valid. In this case, the match-up-oriented approach is not valid because, as I will explain further, many Cleveland games do not play out in the way that one would expect them to based on how the teams match up against each other.

Take Cleveland’s last loss for example. The Cavaliers’ offense barely eclipsed 100 points even though Atlanta allows over 120 points per game. Cleveland matched up well against Atlanta because it likes to attack the basket and Atlanta’s rim protection is poor.

If a bettor had relied on dissecting the matchup for that game, then he would have lost, because the Hawks covered the spread and won.

Let-Down Situation

How do we know which games Cleveland will disappoint relative to match-up-based expectations? There is a pattern.

Cleveland, directly before facing Atlanta, had just edged past a superior Boston team. Subsequently facing a losing Atlanta team, the Cavaliers suffered a let-down.

Similarly, after eking past a difficult Dallas team, they lost straight-up to underdog Chicago. To give another recent example, they played impressively well while dominating a strong Sacramento team only to fail to cover the spread in their next game, which took place at lowly Washington.

When they beat a strong team, they reliably suffer a let-down in their next game when its opponent is a poor one. Expect a let-down from Cleveland tonight because it is coming off an overtime win over mighty Minnesota and now faces a losing Brooklyn team.

NCAAB Pick: Nets +7.5 (-110) at Bet365


Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Sunday, March 10, 2024 – 07:00 PM ET at Paycom Center


Our computers project a respectable performance from the underdog Grizzlies tonight. Their opponent is favored by too many points.

Memphis’ Offense

The Grizzlies love to shoot three-pointers. They attempt the fifth-most per game. Critically, they will shoot and make them in any location.

Their conversion rate actually improves when they go on the road, as does the number of three-pointers that they make per game.

They’ll stretch the floor with well-sized shooters like seven-footer Santi Aldama, who is shooting 12-for-26 from deep from deep in his last four games. Of course, their guards have long range, too.

Thunder Perimeter Defense

Expect Memphis to score a lot of points today because it will be comfortable against a Thunder defense whose weakness is guarding the perimeter.

The Thunder rank 26th at limiting opposing three-point attempts. They allow the sixth-most open three-point attempts and the tenth-most wide-open three-point attempts. These stats indicate that they do a poor job both of running teams off the three-point line and of contesting three-point shots.

Perimeter defense helps explain their failure to cover the spread in their last three games. Their last opponent, Miami, “only” shot 37.9% from deep, while their last two opponents, the Trail Blazers and Lakers, blew past 40% from deep.

Vince Williams

Memphis won’t need to play too much defense in order to cover the big spread, but it has what it takes to defend well tonight. The Thunder rely heavily on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has led them in scoring in each of their past nine games.

His counterpart, point guard Vince Williams, will further help Memphis cover the spread by keeping OKC’s primary scoring threat in check. Williams has been a difference-maker on the defensive end since he first started getting more minutes. He’s had great success locking down good guards such as Tyler Herro as well as Jimmy Butler.

His positive defensive impact is broadly telling. He has approached the 90th percentile this year, for wings, at limiting opposing points per possession with him on the floor.

NCAAB Pick: Grizzlies +15 (-110) at Bet365

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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