Grizzlies vs Lakers Picks and Predictions: King James' Men Run Dry

The Grizzlies have been red hot, and can use Friday's road date with the Lakers to send a message on national TV. Our NBA picks are counting on just that against an L.A. supporting cast that doesn't measure up.

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2023 12:34 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Ja Morant Memphis Grizzlies
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The red-hot Memphis Grizzlies are still unbeaten in 2023 and they begin a five-game road trip tonight with a visit to Los Angeles to face LeBron James and the Lakers.

The Grizzlies have won 11 in a row to take a firm grip on a Top-2 seed in the West, but they needed a Steven Adams tip shot and a big defensive play from Dillon Brooks inside the final 20 seconds to seal a 115-114 win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday.

The primary task for the Lakers is still to claw their way up (currently 13th) into the play-in spots, but Anthony Davis remains in street clothes and Darvin Ham’s men fell short down the stretch against the Sacramento Kings last time out.

Check out our free Grizzlies vs Lakers picks and predictions as we dive into this Friday, January 20 matchup.

Grizzlies vs Lakers best odds

Grizzlies vs Lakers picks and predictions

There’s no bigger show in the NBA these days than Ja Morant — and his Grizzlies have the L.A. stage (and a national TV audience) tonight. Expect fireworks!

Morant, who got to 40 points against the Lakers twice last season, is the headline act but Memphis goes at least 10 deep and last tasted defeat on December 27. Desmond Bane is healthy, Jaren Jackson Jr. is swatting everything in sight and the bench is among the steadiest in the league.

Memphis is favored by 6.5 points here and it’s tough to see the value in picking the Lakers against the spread, with so much of the hosts’ offense once again on LeBron James’ shoulders. The Grizzlies are an elite team on both ends of the floor and capable of blowing the game open with devastating runs, as they did in a 39-23 third quarter against the Suns on Monday.

LeBron is doing his best to keep the Lakers afloat, but his supporting cast is massively overmatched here. Against the Kings, the other L.A. starters combined for 20 points. While Russell Westbrook gives the hosts some scoring and playmaking punch off the bench, the Grizzlies’ defense has clamped down impressively during their winning run. 

Facing James in the L.A. spotlight, I feel good about the Grizzlies being up for this game and walking away with a comfortable win.

My best bet: Grizzlies -6.5 (-110 at bet365)

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Grizzlies vs Lakers spread analysis

The Grizzlies are rolling — they’re deep, physical and oozing confidence after blazing through their January schedule so far. Memphis is a clear favorite for the oddsmakers, and if anything, this line could be a few points higher.

The Lakers have lost four of their last five games, with their one win coming in a shootout against the Rockets. That hardly inspires confidence against a Grizzlies team that has shown no fear of going up against LeBron in past meetings.

Despite the 31-13 record, Memphis still has something to prove on the road, where it’s 11-10. Tonight feels like a good place to start, with the Lakers 11-11 at home and missing Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV in addition to Davis.

Most of all, the Grizzlies’ backcourt is a matchup nightmare for the hosts. Morant should be able to get into the paint at will, while Bane is a bucket-getter at all three levels. Whether the Lakers turn to Patrick Beverley, Dennis Schroder, Westbrook, or Kendrick Nunn in the guard spots, I expect Memphis to score in bunches.

Grizzlies vs Lakers Over/Under analysis

In some ways, the Grizzlies bring an Over/Under conundrum, with a free-scoring offense that ranks in the Top 5 in points per game and a lockdown defense that’s allowing the lowest field goal percentage in the league at that end of the floor.

Even so, Memphis has been delivering on the Over during its hot streak. The Over has hit in the Grizzlies’ last eight games, aided by Jackson Jr. emerging as a solid third option most nights with 15 or more points in seven of his last eight games. Memphis had scored 130 points or more in three straight games before a dip against the Cavaliers midweek.

The biggest threat to the Over likely comes from a Lakers offense that’s so dependent on James. He had 32 points against Kings and a 48-point masterpiece in their prior game against the Rockets. But Brooks and Jackson, in particular, will make King James work for every basket here. If he has a cold shooting quarter, who’s picking up the slack for the Lakers?

Grizzlies vs Lakers betting trend to know

It’s not just the Grizzlies who have been a magnet for the Over lately. It’s also 10-2 in the Lakers’ last 12 games following an ATS loss. Find more NBA betting trends for Grizzlies vs. Lakers.

Grizzlies vs Lakers game info

Location: Arena, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Friday, January 20, 2023
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET

Grizzlies vs Lakers key injuries

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