NBA Handicapping: Memphis Grizzlies Odds to win Western Conference
by George Monroy - 1/22/2015
A new era is dawning in the NBA's Western Conference. Gone are the days when the west was ruled by the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs-even though one of those crafty old veteran squads is still competing for titles-and in their place is a conference that is 10 teams deep and run by a group of young players that are more interested in playing team basketball than running isolation sets that lead to bad shots.
The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new NBA, which relies on advanced stats and efficiently-run offenses, and may be ready to experience a breakthrough with a deep postseason run that ends in a NBA Finals appearance. The NBA has been the sports league with the least amount of parity because big stars with big contracts have traditionally ruled the market. In 2015, however, a championship contender can be built without a transcendent superstar.
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Let's take a closer at the Memphis Grizzlies and figure out if they can win the Western Conference and make their first ever NBA Finals appearance. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag.
Memphis Grizzlies Betting Story Lines
The NBA has changed in a drastic way over the last six years, and the squads to benefit have been those teams that play system basketball. The San Antonio Spurs have shown time and time again that simply throwing the ball to Kevin Durant or LeBron James is not the best way to win championships.
In that last 14 years only four Western Conference teams have made it to the NBA Finals: the Lakers, Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks. The beauty of the new NBA is that only one of those teams is currently in the top six in the west, and only two would even make the playoffs if they started today. The Grizzlies are sitting on the third-best record in the west and could easily end up with the No. 2 seed heading into the postseason.
Memphis has been a second-tier team for years, but the squad has quietly turned into a veteran group with extensive playoff experience and has participated in more than a few intense series' against the Thunder and Spurs. The Grizzlies have also been composed of the same core group of players for nearly six seasons already, with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley all blooming in their respective roles.
Memphis ATS Record and Futures Odds
Memphis Conference Odds: +850
Memphis has not been a great ATS squad through the first half of the season with a 21-20-1 record through 42 games, and it seems to produce a .500 mark in nearly every ATS category. The squad continues to quietly grind out victories and not draw too much attention, which has caused the group to be a bit underrated in its futures odds.
Memphis is currently has the third-best record in the west yet is only receiving the sixth-best conference futures odds and trails Golden State, San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City, who would not even make the playoffs at the moment, in the eyes of the oddsmakers. Memphis is one of those teams that is built for the playoffs, and receiving inflated odds is a good thing for this group.
Can Memphis Win the West?
Memphis recently responded to Dallas and Houston, who both made a pair of high-profile trades, with a big-name trade of their own. On Jan. 12 the squad acquired Jeff Green from the Boston Celtics and has since won four of their last five games. The trade itself might not be as big as the Rajon Rondo or Josh Smith deals, but what it does do is bring another scorer and solid defender to a team that does not rely on one person to close out a game.
Memphis' title hopes will rely on having multiple options and players who will make the right basketball moves. Green might not be a superstar, but his presence could be enough to push the Grizzlies into title run in late May. Can Memphis win the west? In the new NBA where teams matter more than stars, sure they can.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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