Buried in a small-market city and virtually invisible in the NBA since the franchise relocated from Vancouver in 2001, the Memphis Grizzlies are at long last starting to open some eyes.
Heading into Friday night’s tester against the Los Angeles Lakers at home, the Grizzlies are in first place in the Southwest Conference and are 8-2 both SU and ATS.
But Memphis is not alone. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are also both leading their divisions and rewarding bettors. New York is 8-2 SU and ATS, and Los Angeles is a firm 8-3 both ways.
Here’s a closer look at these three surprise moneymakers:
Memphis Grizzlies (8-2 ATS)
Memphis’s only non-cover this year was against the Clippers. Their run has included eye-opening victories over the Heat, Thunder and Knicks in a three-game, six-day, back-to-back-to-back stretch that awakened the league as to what it was dealing with. The Grizz have the same cast which lost in seven to the Clippers in Round 1 of the playoffs last season, but four starters are scoring more this season, fueling the surge.
New York Knicks (8-2 ATS)
The Knicks are 15-1 to win the NBA title and actually had shown some signs of life last season before being sliced apart by the Heat in the playoffs. This season, the core of the team is healthy, the PG play (Ray Felton, Jason Kidd) has been solid and Carmelo Anthony isn’t quite the ball hog that he has been in the past.
Los Angeles Clippers (8-3 ATS)
Los Angeles has tightened its defense since a pair of bad (Cleveland, Golden State) home losses in early November. Jamal Crawford is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and that leads to a lot of points for a volume shooter. Five players are in double-figures scoring. Los Angeles heads east for a few games before an extended homestand that should keep the team healthy until the second week of November.