Grizzlies vs. Trail Blazers Expert NBA Betting Analysis and Free Pick

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Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP.

The Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers will meet on ESPN on Wednesday night. These teams met three times in one week last April in one of the pandemic season’s scheduling quirks. Memphis (2-1) won the first two matchups and is one of the few teams in the Western Conference with a winning record to start this NBA season. Portland (1-2) just lost 116-86 to the Clippers on Monday but is a 2-point home favorite at many of the top sportsbooks.

Can Damian Lillard shake off a poor shooting start to get the Trail Blazers back on track?

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Moda Center

Memphis: Great Offense, Suspect Defense

It is only three games into the season, but Memphis has the kind of statistical breakdown you’d sooner expect from Portland. The Grizzlies are No. 1 in Offensive Rating (121.3) and No. 30 in Defensive Rating (117.1) after three high-scoring games.

Memphis was close to starting 3-0, but Ja Morant missed a game-tying free throw with a second left against the Lakers on Sunday. That spoiled a career day as Morant scored 40 points with 10 assists for the first time in his career. Memphis watched Carmelo Anthony light it up from three (6-of-8) in a vintage 28-point performance.

But the Memphis offense has come out hot to start the season. The Grizzlies lead the NBA in free throw percentage (87.3%), second-chance points (21.3), and points in the paint per game (60.7). Memphis currently ranks No. 1 in eFG% (55.5%) and No. 1 in TS% (58.9%). The Trail Blazers are no slouches either as they rank 5th in both shooting statistics. Rebound percentage is another stat where the Grizzlies rank 1rst while Portland happens to rank 5th.

However, something has very much been off for Portland so far.

Portland: Where’s Damian Lillard?

Portland point guard Damian Lillard was included last week in the NBA’s Top 75 players of all-time list. Whether you agree with his inclusion or not, there is no denying that Lillard has developed into one of the game’s best scorers and one of the most dangerous three-point shooters. Lillard has averaged at least 25.0 points and 5.0 assists per game for six straight seasons, which puts him in very exclusive company for all of NBA history.

But it has been a slow three-game start for Lillard under new coach Chauncey Billups. While CJ McCollum (27.3 points per game) is thriving to lead the team in scoring, Lillard is averaging 17 points per game on 36% shooting. Lillard scored 12 points and was a minus-22 in 27 minutes of action on Monday against the Clippers.

Worse, Lillard is 2-of-24 from three, already having games of 0-for-9 in the opener and 0-for-8 on Monday. Lillard had just two games in the previous two seasons combined where he failed to hit a three on at least eight attempts.

Lillard needs to get out of this shooting slump immediately for Portland to be a good team again. He was not great in the three games against Memphis last April as he averaged 24.3 points and shot 34.4% from the field. But the Grizzlies have allowed big performances to Paul George (41 points) and the aforementioned Carmelo game on Sunday.

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP.

In addition to his scoring being down, it’s not like Lillard is lighting it up with assists to teammates. His 7.3 assists are down from last year’s average of 7.5. In fact, Portland has the second-lowest pass percentage (29.3%) and assists percentage (50.0%) in the NBA.

It's time for Lillard to get going against the bottom-ranked defensive team in the league.

Prediction

While the game should be close, and the big game from Lillard is coming any day now, I still like Memphis (3-0 ATS) in this NBA pick. Morant had a season-high 13 assists against Portland last year, and he is playing at a high level in his third season.

I am going to trust the NBA odds of the team that is shooting, rebounding, and passing the ball better right now and that is Memphis.

NBA Pick: Grizzlies +2 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Grizzlies +2 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.