It’s the morning after the Superbowl, and while talk radio and television talking heads will certainly get a few more days mileage out of “WHY WHY WHY do you not hand the ball to Beast Mode?” and “is Brady the best QB of all time?” it is simply talk – there is no more football for eight months. And that leaves hoops at the center of the stage.
For those of you with pigskin withdrawl, don’t despair, we will be here with plenty of basketball picks and coverage and will try to widen our winning records even more in both NBA and college hoops.
But seriously, hand the ball to Marshawn… ugh…
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Today’s Free Pick:
There are eight games on the NBA docket tonight, and three of them have double-digit lines, so perhaps not the greatest showcase for basketball’s first day with the undivided spotlight. But we will wade through the dregs and find a good contest and winning line.
Memphis Grizzlies -3 at Phoenix Suns (Total: 204)
The Grizzlies have won six in a row and may be the best team in the West right now, although hardly anyone has noticed. They only have one All-Star, despite another meritorious season from Mike Conley, and lack the national profile of Golden State, San Antonio and the Clippers. But with the addition of Jeff Green, this might be the best-constructed team to navigate the brutal Western Conference minefield in the Playoffs.
The Grizz have gone 3-1-2 ATS in their six game winning streak, and during their last ten games (9-1 straight up) they are 6-2-2 ATS.
Meanwhile, Phoenix continues to hang on the eighth and final playoff spot even while everyone tries to give it to New Orleans or Oklahoma City. The Suns are 6-3 in their last ten games, but they have complied that mark by doing largely what they are supposed to do; beating teams they are better than or similar too and losing to superior teams. Their losses are to Houston, LAC, Golden State and Memphis. As good as Phoenix is, they have a difficult time with teams that are as talented as them in the backcourt (few are) but more imposing in the frontcourt. That is the exact formula employed by the Grizz.
I like Conley and Allen to be a smothering defensive nuisance for Dragic and Bledsoe and for the Grizz awesome frontcourt to be the difference. The Suns struggled from the floor in losing three of their last four games, all against good defensive teams. No one is better on D when they lock it down than Memphis. Expect them to do just that tonight and to cover the slim three point margin on the road.