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NBA Preview: 1st January

A BIG New Years Eve (US time) slate on deck and we’ve found some huge value in one of the matchups as we look to close the week out with another winner.

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis hosts the travelling Spurs as they look to build off a three-game win streak and a huge comeback win against the Lakers last time out.

This is the first head-to-head between the two sides this season and is set to be an intriguing matchup.

Ja Morant has continued his strong form this season and has single handedly lifted the Grizzlies to their most recent wins against the Lakers and Suns scoring 41 and 33 respectively.

Desmond Bane has also been a pillar of consistency and has proven himself on both ends of the floor putting together efficient scoring as well as being asked to defend key players on the other end of the court.

The home side will continue to be without Dillon Brooks as well as a host of role players as their depth continues to be tested.

This is also a negative rest spot for the Grizz as they face their fourth game in six nights, with the impact of fatigue being much greater given the extent of players absent for this matchup.

San Antonio on the other hand have the advantage of a two-day rest after their matchup with Miami was cancelled. This allowed them to spend the extra day at home before travelling to Memphis.

The Spurs run the third fastest pace and are one of the most effective and frequent transition offences in the league, and they’re coupling this with the benefit of extra rest.

I fully expect the Spurs to run every opportunity they get in attempt to attack the Grizzlies, an area where they struggle to defend and rank in the top ten of opponent points per possession in transition.

While San Antonio are not a high volume three-point shooting side, they do so very efficiently. They are the most accurate side from corner three and a top ten side overall from beyond the arc.

This is perhaps the biggest mismatch in the game as Memphis ranks dead last in the league in opponent shooting percentage from three, allowing teams to score at nearly 40% from deep.

If San Antonio can generate some looks from the outside and increase their volume in this matchup, they can enjoy a nice advantage in this area and space the floor to create more opportunities in areas Memphis do defend well, such as at the rim.

I make this game much closer to even-money when factoring in the stylistic outliers for both teams and the fatigue factors likely impacting Memphis.

The 5.5 points is too much to be laying on a team with shortened rotations and rest disadvantage coming into a high paced game against one of the leagues hottest offensive units.

Our best bet: San Antonio Spurs +5.5 $1.92 at PlayUp


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