Grizzlies vs Bucks Picks and Predictions: Attack on Deer Country

Memphis has to test its ceiling against the defending champs tonight, possibly with Jrue Holiday back in action. Find out if the short-handed underdogs can keep this game within reach with our Grizzlies vs. Bucks picks.

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2022 4:27 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Ja Morant Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies continue to maul the NBA. 

Memphis is 12-1 in its last 13 games, and at 22-5 since late November, has been the league's best team across an almost two-month stretch. 

But tonight, it'll have its mettle tested for real, facing some key injuries while entering the lair of the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. 

Find out if the Grizz should Fear the Deer with our Grizzlies vs. Bucks NBA betting picks and predictions for Wednesday, January 19.

Grizzlies vs Bucks odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Milwaukee opened as a 6.5-point favorite in most spots, with select books opening -4.5 and quickly falling in line, where it stays at virtually all outlets. The total opened at 225 and sits at either 227.5 or 228 as of writing.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Grizzlies vs Bucks predictions

Predictions made on 01/19/2022 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Grizzlies vs Bucks game info

Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: BSWI, BSSE-MEM

Grizzlies vs Bucks betting preview

Injuries

Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks SF (Out), Desmond Bane SG (Out), Kyle Anderson SF (Out), Killian Tillie SF (Out). 
Bucks: Jrue Holiday PG (Questionable), Brook Lopez C (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Grizzlies are 13-3 against the spread in their last 16 games as a road underdog. Find more NBA betting trends for Grizzlies vs. Bucks.

Grizzlies vs Bucks picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The single biggest factor in this game is whether Jrue Holiday — who hasn't played in two weeks due to an ankle injury — suits up. The Bucks have gone 2-4 in his absence and looked worse on offense than they have in recent memory. Holiday is also one of the league's best options defensively on Ja Morant.

Morant has been blowtorching the NBA over the past few weeks, inserting himself onto the shortlist of MVP odds favorites. He's one of the league's most unguardable players off the dribble and can generate instant offense for both himself and teammates about as well as anyone. 

That's going to be all the more important tonight, as joining second-leading scorer Dillon Brooks on the sideline are Kyle Anderson and ascendant Desmond Bane. The former is one of Memphis' most consistent and well-rounded performers, while the latter has broken out as a dependable scorer in the ~20ppg range.

But if Holiday doesn't play, it stretches Milwaukee's playmaking even thinner and means Memphis just has to outscore a team that's been dropping only 102.8 ppg in Jrue's absence. Morant can keep a team in that kind of low-scoring game by himself, and it will be all the easier if Holiday's still not ready.

The wing absences will hurt, but Memphis is one of the NBA's deepest teams and has been getting solid production from rookie Ziaire Williams, who will have to take on a greater role by default. 

The Bucks are 2-6 ATS in their past eight games, while the Grizz are 11-2 ATS in their past 13. This all comes down to current form, and Memphis very consistently exceeded expectations over the past two months. With Holiday's status in question, we can't fade the league's hottest team getting this many points. 

Prediction: Memphis +6.5 (-110)

The Bucks obviously miss Holiday's presence, where they've sunk from scoring over 112 ppg on the season to just the 102.8 mentioned above. 

That's music to the ears of a Grizzlies team that's been running up scores of late, logging 115 ppg over their past 13. 

Without Bane and Anderson, the question becomes how far the Grizz can stretch their "next man up" mentality, and obviously, whether Holiday is around to pester Morant. 

Both teams have track-meet tendencies, with Memphis sitting No. 10 in pace and Milwaukee eighth. But with the Bucks offense stagnating and the Grizzlies missing two of their main guns, there may not be the firepower to get this Over such a lofty total.

Things could take more of a defensive approach here too. Memphis has the NBA's third-best defense over its past 10 games, and Milwaukee could elect to go zone with Giannis Antetokounmpo protecting the rim to keep Morant away from the paint and force Memphis' Bane-less shooters to beat them.

It's tough to totally ignore the Over potential, but more leans to the Under, and especially with the total being bet up, we think it's just a bit too high.

Prediction: Under 228 (-110)

With Bane out, even more of the scoring load is going to fall on Jaren Jackson Jr.'s shoulders. 

While he hasn't developed Bane's level of consistency or efficient primacy yet, Jackson's shown an improved touch around the basket and has scored 20+ in four of his past eight games despite his 3-point stroke being utterly busted (25.6% from distance in January).

His points total sits at 16.5 tonight, which we see as an easy mark given Bane's absence and Memphis' glaring need not only for a complementary scorer to Morant but a stretch threat to keep Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee D honest. 

Depending on whether Holiday plays and what look the Bucks bring on D, this could wind up being a solid matchup for Jackson if he can use his length to his advantage against the likes of Bobby Portis and Jordan Nwora while Giannis plays free safety. Either way, he'll have increased looks to top a relatively low number, and only upside to yield in his high-variance 3-point shooting. 

Pick: Jaren Jackson Jr. Over 16.5 points (-115)

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