Pelicans vs Grizzlies Picks and Predictions: Memphis Gets Right After Denver Disaster

Memphis came out with a pathetic effort against Denver, but has usually rebounded from such performances this year. Both that and the possible return of Ja Morant are bad news for New Orleans, as our Pelicans vs. Grizzlies picks explain.

Last Updated: Apr 9, 2022 12:39 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Desmond Bane Memphis Grizzlies NBA
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Motivation and stamina are often the keys in the final weeks of the NBA season, and are two concepts worth keeping in mind as the Memphis Grizzlies host the New Orleans Pelicans for NBA betting action on Saturday night. 

New Orleans still needs another win to lock up homecourt in its play-in matchup with San Antonio, while Memphis, long locked into the West's No. 2 seed, is looking to finish its breakthrough regular season with strong momentum. 

Find out who exceeds the books' expectations tonight with our Pelicans vs. Grizzlies NBA picks and predictions for April 9. 

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Pelicans vs Grizzlies odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Memphis opened as a 5.5-point favorite, with several books moving them to -6.0 but some still offering -5.5 as of Saturday morning. The total opened between 230.5 and 232.5, bet down slightly to the 229-230 range.

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.

Pelicans vs Grizzlies predictions

Predictions made on 4/9/2022 at 9:05 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Pelicans vs Grizzlies game info

Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Date: Saturday, April 9, 2022
Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBATV, Bally Sports

Pelicans vs Grizzlies betting preview

Key injuries

Pelicans: Brandon Ingram SF (Questionable), Zion Williamson PF (Out), Kira Lewis Jr. PG (Out).
Grizzlies: Ja Morant PG (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Grizzlies are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as a home favorite and 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight-up loss. Find more NBA betting trends for Pelicans vs. Grizzlies.

Pelicans vs Grizzlies picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Grizzlies are once again facing gut-check time — despite how high this team has flown this season, it's happened from time to time.

Memphis was embarrassed by Denver its last time out, losing 122-109 in a game that wasn't even remotely as close as its final score indicated. The Grizz looked gassed and disjointed, losing back-to-back games for the first time since the All-Star break.

Memphis has responded to such adversity with consistent ship-righting this season, going 9-2 against the spread in its last 11 games following a straight-up loss. This is a deep, well-coached unit (Taylor Jenkins is a likely Coach of the Year finalist) that's been far more focused and consistent this season than you'd expect from such a young team.

Better yet for the Grizzlies, All-NBA-to-be point guard Ja Morant is possibly suiting up tonight. And while Memphis generally fared just fine without him (7-2 during his latest absence, 20-4 sans Morant this season) there's no question that Ja raises this team's ceiling. 

The Pelicans come in at 7-3 in their past 10 games, but through a laughably soft schedule stretch that served up four games against play-in teams, plus the Blazers (twice), Lakers (twice), and Kings. New Orleans hasn't faced a test this tough since a 16-point loss to the Suns on March 15 and took a 21-point loss to the Grizzlies on March 8 in these teams' last meeting. 

The Pelicans are rated as a Top-10 team on both sides of the ball since the All-Star break, but again, have faced one of the NBA's easiest schedules. In fact, the Pels are 3-7 in their last 10 against non-lottery teams, and the possible absence of Brandon Ingram tonight is a big blow, especially against what's been the NBA's best post-All-Star defense.

The Grizzlies can stick an apex defender on CJ McCollum (Dillon Brooks), Ingram if he plays (Jaren Jackson Jr.) and have both the size and intel to make former Grizzly Jonas Valanciunas uncomfortable.

Memphis is just too much of a two-way force, and while its offense has dipped slightly without Morant, this team can still go off on any night, especially against an overrated defense like the Pels' — it lit them up for 132 the last time these two met.

Memphis will be motivated to get back on its A-game heading into the playoffs after what's been a simply outstanding season, and possibly getting Morant back will only be icing on the cake. Against a New Orleans side that hasn't fared well versus good teams lately and could be without arguably its best player, we're siding with the Grizz to get right. 

Prediction: Memphis -5.5 (-110 at 888sport)

Over/Under analysis

The Grizzlies are going to be looking to re-assert themselves in this game, and that typically means lots of high-pressure blitzing defense that will either cause a ton of turnovers, give up gamble-created looks, or put Memphis in foul trouble. All of these things are good for the Over. 

The Grizz are agents of chaos that thrive when other teams are taken out of their comfort zone, and their impetus is usually to push the tempo. The added jolt of having Morant back possibly gives Memphis some added pep in its step, not to mention one of the most automatic halfcourt buckets in the entire league.   

While we believe its numbers to be bloated, this New Orleans team is still a capable-at-worst offense if Ingram plays, and even without him, this game might be played at a fast enough pace with the Grizzlies doing their Tazmanian Devil act (second in NBA in pace over the last 15 games) that the back-and-forth action will beget a shootout.

Which is just fine with Memphis. It's a deep team with plenty of young athletic legs that want to rediscover itself for the playoff run with its leader back in tow. At no point tonight will Jenkins tell his team to "slow things down". 

Bet accordingly.

Prediction: Over 229.5 (-110 at bet365)

Best bet

Most bets for this game — particularly player props — are shaky with Morant's status. Memphis player props are non-existent, and books have been hesitant to roll out New Orleans markets as well. 

We are getting a CJ McCollum points line of 24.5 O/U, which we think is fair to target the Over with for several reasons. First off, McCollum's averaging 25.6 ppg with the Pels, and his baseline should trend higher against a fast-paced team like Memphis.

In fact, McCollum is 3-0 to the Over versus this total against the Grizzlies this season, as both a member of the Pelicans and Trail Blazers, averaging 29 per and topping 30 twice. In games without Ingram, he's 6-3 to the Over, and combining Memphis' whirlwind pace with the added looks a possible Ingram absence will afford creates solid value with a high floor for McCollum to get buckets tonight. 

Pick: CJ McCollum Over 24.5 points (-108)

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