The Grizzlies host the Lakers in Game 1 of their first round Western Conference playoffs series. The game is expected to tip-off at 03:00 PM ET, Sunday, April 16th, 2023.
LeBron James and the Lakers head to Memphis a marginal 4.5 point underdog, with both teams knowing how important this first game can be in deciding the outcome of the series.
The second seeded Grizzlies have had a week off to prepare, while the seventh-seeded Lakers had to play an overtime game against the Timberwolves on Tuesday to secure their spot. In that game, James and Anthony Davis both recorded double-doubles, with Davis adding three blocks to help his team limit Minnesota’s scoring in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Although the Grizzlies won 51 games in the regular season and finished just two games out of first place in the West, the Lakers won the season series between the two teams 2-1, with Davis scoring 30 points and 22 rebounds in their most recent meeting.
Point guard Ja Morant, who averages 26.2 points and 8.1 assists per game, is the key player for Memphis, while the Lakers’ Austin Reaves acknowledged that containing him would be crucial.
Memphis will be missing center Steven Adams due to a knee injury, leaving Jackson Jr. to take on more responsibilities against Davis, who is known for his offensive skills. Memphis will also rely on Xavier Tillman to take on some of the defensive duties.
Last year, Memphis held the No. 2 seed but lost in the Western Conference semifinals, while the Lakers missed the playoffs entirely the same year and were eliminated in the first round in 2020-21 by Phoenix.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
In their three meetings this season, the Lakers won both of their home games outright and against the spread, while Memphis won their only home game straight up and ATS, despite being favored in all games. The Grizzlies’ injury concerns raise questions about how healthy they will be for the playoffs, and they may struggle against a strong postseason performer like LeBron.
The Lakers’ success in this series will likely hinge on Davis, who has a clear path to the basket without the injured Adams. Given Memphis’ recent ATS record, it’s safe to take the Lakers to cover the spread and win the game.
We recommend betting on the Lakers to win. But remember, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that this Grizzlies team will not bring a new found maturity to this playoffs, nor that the Lakers will be at full health come tip-off. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.
Spread: Grizzlies -4.5
Moneyline: Grizzlies -172, Lakers +145
Pick: Lakers ML
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