After splitting four regular-season meetings, the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies are set to meet in the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs.
Despite this being a mostly even matchup throughout the year, and despite an overtime thriller in San Antonio just a couple weeks ago, the Spurs enter Game 1 as heavy favorites.
Here’s everything you need to know about the betting information:
Spurs vs. Grizzlies Game 1
Spread: Spurs (-9), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: Spurs (-550), Grizzlies (+375)
Spurs Record Against the Spread: 41-39-2
Grizzlies Record Against the Spread: 41-41
Preview & Prediction
These teams have met three times over the past month. The Spurs have won two of those, but they’ve all been fairly close (MEM by 8, SA by 7 and SA by 6 in OT) and they’ve all been played at a molasses-slow tempo (pace in those three games: 91.66, 87.86, and 88.23. For comparison, the Jazz, the slowest team in the NBA, had a pace of 93.62 this season).
So you already have two slow, physical, defensively-minded teams, and now you put them into the playoffs. Where games slow down. Where games get more physical. Where defense clamps down even more.
Ultimately, the Spurs should come away with the Game 1 win. They’re the better overall team, they have a legitimate MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard on their side, they’re at home where they went 31-10 this season, and the Grizzlies will be missing Tony Allen, arguably their best perimeter defender.
That said, the low-scoring nature makes Memphis a good bet to cover the fairly large spread. The Grizz are 4-0 against the spread vs. San Antonio this season, and I see that trend continuing.
Prediction: Spurs 92, Grizzlies 88 (SA straight up; MEM against the spread; Under 192)