NBA Playoffs Computer Picks (April 16): Grizzlies to Race Past Lakers

Tyus Jones Memphis Grizzlies Los Angeles Lakers
Tyus Jones #21 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket in front of Troy Brown Jr. #7 and Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers on March 07, 2023. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP.

Top NBA Pick:

NBA Pick: Grizzlies ML (-170) at Bet365

Picks Summary:

  • Lakers vs. Grizzlies – Grizzlies ML (-170)
  • Lakers vs. Grizzlies – Over 227.5 (-112)
  • Heat vs. Bucks – Bucks -9.5 (-109)

Top sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for today’s NBA action.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play both spread and total for the first game and just the total for the other game.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Sunday, April 16, 2023 – 03:00 PM EDT at FedExForum

Computer Projection

Our computers project a 118-114 game in which Memphis wins and in which the “Over” hits. Should we follow our computers’ projections by investing in the Grizzlies ML and the “Over”?

Lakers’ Offense

The Lakers offense is plagued by its one-dimensionality. Its offense is one-dimensional partly by necessity. Problematically, the Lakers are rather allergic to attempting threes. They attempt the 26th-most threes per game. Their top three-point shooters would or should generally not want to shoot threes because they are inefficient beyond the arc.

LeBron, for example, attempts 6.9 threes per game but converts only 32.1% of them. There aren’t enough other options, guys who are efficient and comfortable from behind the arc, to make L.A.’s offense versatile.

As such, they depend heavily on scoring in other places than behind the arc.

L.A.’s Reliance on Scoring Inside

The Lakers attempt the third-most field goals within five feet of the basket.

Among others, they rely on the driving ability of LeBron, on center Anthony Davis’ post-up play, and on the driving of guards like D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder.

Memphis’ Rim Protection

Given its defensive strengths, Memphis wants most of all to face an offense that relies primarily on scoring at the basket. Measured in terms of field goal percentage, Memphis is the best team at limiting opposing offenses within five feet of the basket.

Among others, Jaren Jackson is critical to the Grizzlies’ success in this area of the court. The power forward’s excellent rim protection is a product of his physical toolkit and his athleticism.

Run, Run, Run

On the other side, Memphis loves to run on offense. The Grizzlies characteristically rely a lot on their transition offense, which is normally ignited by star point guard Ja Morant.

While Morant can be effective off-the-ball, partly as a consequence of his developed chemistry with his teammates, he gladly leads the charge with his speed going down the court, his vision, and his general ability to put his head down and drive to the basket.

Morant and Memphis’ transition offense has a particularly positive outlook today against a Lakers’ defense that allows the fourth-most points per game in transition.

The Grizzlies’ success in transition will have the twofold effect of enabling them to score a lot and to score in a hurry.

Their transition offense, therefore, helps justify two different NBA picks: the Grizzlies ATS and the over.

NBA Pick: Grizzlies ML (-170) at Bet365

NBA Pick: Over 227.5 (-112) at BetRivers

Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Sunday, April 16, 2023 – 05:30 PM EDT at Fiserv Forum

Computer Projection

Our computers project Milwaukee to cover the spread in a higher-scoring game. Should we agree?

Milwaukee’s Defensive Improvement

Milwaukee used to be known as a team that gave up an absurd number of three-pointers. The Bucks were inclined to employ drop coverage, focusing on protecting the basket while conceding three-point attempts. In today’s modern NBA, where, partly thanks to analytics, more teams like to shoot more threes, Milwaukee’s defensive focus was unsustainable.

Consequently, the Bucks have become more focused on locking down potential open shooters. Their defenders will follow and harass the latter, enabling Milwaukee to allow fewer three-pointers per game.

To be exact, the Bucks have progressed from ranking last place in allowing made threes last year to ranking 11th this year in the category.

Bucks’ Defensive Outlook

Milwaukee’s progression in its perimeter defense will be especially useful against a Heat team that loves to shoot the three. The Heat ranks 10th in threes attempted per game.

The Bucks are also great at limiting open and wide-open three-point attempts.

In yielding a low frequency of these, the Bucks force Miami to score in ways that it is less comfortable doing.

Milwaukee’s Offensive Outlook

On the other side, the Heat is one of the worst teams at preventing opponents from procuring open three-point attempts. This has long been a problem for Miami’s defense, which it has not fixed.

The Bucks will explode past Miami by relying on their array of guys who love to shoot threes and who, despite their high volume, make Milwaukee the 10th-most efficient team from deep.

Milwaukee’s superior shooting will do the most to help it cover today’s spread.
NBA Pick: Bucks -9.5 (-109) at Unibet is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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