Warriors vs Grizzlies Picks and Predictions: Memphis Gets It Right the First Time

The Grizzlies are reeling, but get to return home — where they're a totally different team — against the Warriors, who suck on the road and start slow. See why our NBA picks target that start for Thursday's renewed rivalry.

Mar 9, 2023 • 11:03 ET • 4 min read
Dillon Brooks Memphis Grizzlies
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies will be without star guard Ja Morant for at least four more games, including Thursday’s home stand against the Golden State Warriors.

Morant’s gun-touting social media post came at a terrible time for Memphis, which is trying to hang on to a Top-4 spot in the Western Conference standings. The team has lost three in a row — all on the road — but does return home for this crucial contest.

Golden State welcomed Stephen Curry back from injury last weekend, but even his presence couldn’t solve the Warriors’ road woes. The Dubs dropped both games away from home and now drag a league-worst 6-25 SU and 8-23 ATS count as visitors with them into FedExForum.

I run down the spread and Over/Under total for this key Western Conference clash and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Warriors vs. Grizzlies on March 9.

Warriors vs Grizzlies best odds

Warriors vs Grizzlies picks and predictions

Adding to the Warriors’ season-long struggles on the road are recent sluggish starts for the defending NBA champions.

Golden State has trailed at the halftime break in each of its last five games and owns a net rating of -4.3 after two quarters since the All-Star hiatus.

The first 12 minutes of action have been a slog for Steve Kerr’s team, averaging just 24.5 points on 40.3% shooting along with 3.8 turnovers per opening quarter.

The Dubs did put up 30 points against Oklahoma City in the first quarter on Tuesday, but that wretched road defense allowed 40 points in that frame and trailed by four points at the halftime whistle.

The Grizzlies pose a much stiffer test on defense than the Warriors’ recent opponents — even with Morant out — and come out swinging from the opening tip.

The Grizz explode out of the gate with the third-best net rating (+6.9) in the first 24 minutes overall, with that metric spiking to an NBA-high +14.3 at home. That’s produced a 39-24-1 record against the first-half spread on the season (second-best), including 21-9-1 1H ATS mark at home.

FedExForum is a welcome sight for the Grizzlies, who have been on the road in the midst of the Morant controversy. With just five games separating No. 2 and No. 6 in the Western Conference standings, there’s a massive sense of urgency to end this three-game skid. Add in some boiling bad blood between Dillon Brooks and Draymond Green, and the young Grizzlies will be fired up in the first half.

Memphis is the best homecourt defense in terms of advanced rating and that aggressive approach generates 16.2 turnovers per game. That’s not a great matchup for a Warriors side coughing up the ball a league-high 16.8 times per road showing.

Now, what happens in the second half is tougher to predict. Golden State is a much strong second-half team and the Grizzlies have a net rating of -22.3 in the second half during this three-game skid. We’ll stick to the first two quarters and take the home side at +1.

My best bet: Grizzlies first half +1 (-108 at Pinnacle)

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Warriors vs Grizzlies spread analysis

Golden State opened as a 1.5-point road favorite and quickly climbed as high as -2.5 on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, the Grizzlies announced Morant would miss four more games due to his controversial Instagram Live post which featured him flaunting a firearm inside a Denver club last weekend. Without him in the lineup, Memphis lost a pair of games to the L.A. teams which adds to their issues winning away from home.

That said, the Grizzlies are a much different team in Memphis. They own a 26-5 SU record which has helped pump out a 19-11-1 ATS mark inside FedExForum. Memphis also happens to be playing a similarly two-faced team in Golden State, which struggles mightily when hitting the highway.

The Warriors are the worst road team in the NBA and the worst bet as a visitor as well. Their net rating plummets from +7.6 at home to -6.6 on the road, with defense being the biggest culprit. The Dubs defense away from home sitting 28th in advance rating, compared to No. 3 in the Bay Area.

Golden State won the first two meetings with Memphis, with both of those victories not surprisingly coming at home. They last clashed on January 25 inside the Chase Center, with the Warriors winning 122-120 but just failing to cover as 2.5-point home chalk. Morant scored 29 points and had 12 assists in that loss. 

Warriors vs Grizzlies Over/Under analysis

This Over/Under opened at 235 points and has bounced between that number and moves up to 236.

That previous matchup between these teams drew an opening total of 239.5 and closed at 245.5 points, with winners and losers on both sides of the total depending on where you bet the 122-120 finish. 

The Grizzlies didn’t have issues scoring without Morant (as well as the suspended Brooks) against the Clippers on Sunday, pouring in 129 points against the Clips’ crumbling defense. Points were harder to come by the next game against the Lakers, with Memphis shooting just 39% from the field in the 112-103 loss.

The Grizzlies do play their best defense at home, owning the top homecourt defensive rating in the Association and allowing foes to average less than 108 points per game. The team produced a perfect 5-0 Under run during its recent five-game home stand.

Golden State’s defensive downtick on the road and offensive aptitude have manifested themselves in a 22-8-1 Over/Under record as a visitor this season. The Warriors still pack a punch in terms of points in foreign gyms, scoring 116.8 per road game (third-highest) and are coming off a 137-128 shootout loss to Oklahoma City – an opponent that runs a similar up-tempo style as Memphis.

Warriors vs Grizzlies betting trend to know

The Over is 38-16-3 in Warriors’ last 57 road games (70.4% Overs). Find more NBA betting trends for Warriors vs. Grizzlies.

Warriors vs Grizzlies game info

Location: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2023
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: TNT, Sportsnet

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