Are Los Angeles Lakers Actually a Threat to Beat the Memphis Grizzlies?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Are Los Angeles Lakers Actually a Threat to Beat the Memphis Grizzlies?

The Los Angeles Lakers clinched a playoff berth with their play-in victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. Their reward? A first-round date with the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

Typically, the No. 2 vs. No. 7 matchup doesn't generate much fanfare. The two-seed is heavily favored, usually almost always wins in decided fashion, and we all move on. This time is different. The Lakers are not your typical seven-seed. They have LeBron James. They have Anthony Davis. And they've had one of the NBA's best defenses for more than half of the season. This, along with the moves they made at the trade deadline, have many believing they're capable of an upset.

The proof is in the Game 1 odds for Lakers vs. Grizzlies. Most of the time, the No. 2 seed would be the runaway favorite. Instead, bookmakers have given Memphis a slim advantage. Take a look at the latest NBA online betting odds for this matchup so you can see for yourself:

To WinBetOnlineBovadaBetUS
Los Angeles Lakers+234+225+230
Memphis Grizzlies-158-150-170

As always, you will want to double-check these odds for the 2023 NBA playoffs right up until you place your wager. Our Lakers vs. Grizzlies betting odds are accurate entering Thursday, April 13. This gives linemakers plenty of time to implement adjustments ahead of opening tip-off on Sunday, April 16, at 3 p.m. EST.

Staying on top of any last-minute changes will be no trouble at all if you're signed up with the right odds provider. That's why we recommend checking out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. They have all the information you'll need to spot the best online betting sites for the 2023 NBA playoffs.

Can the Lakers steal a victory from the Grizzlies on the road in Game 1? Or have fans and analysts exaggerated how much hope Los Angeles has in this series? Let's find out!

The Los Angeles Lakers Seem Overvalued Entering Game 1 Against the Memphis Grizzlies

Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers have maintained their team is underrated. They might have a point. Though the Lakers have been a punchline among general NBA fans, they are 41-29 since beginning the season 2-10, with a top-10 net rating. That's legit contender stuff. And a lot of it unfolded with a less than ideal roster construction. Los Angeles addressed a lot of its offensive concerns with the acquisitions of D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarrett Vanderbilt at the trade deadline.

Still, we can't just dismiss what the Grizzlies did. They won 51 games during the regular season while placing second in points allowed per possession. Season-ending injuries to Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke loom large. Both were instrumental to helping Memphis dominate the offensive glass and nudge up a half-court offense that has lacked adequate punch for years. But the Grizzlies have adapted. Jaren Jackson Jr. has made a leap as a self-creator, Desmond Bane has done the same, and the team still has Ja Morant.

What's more, the arrival of Luke Kennard at the trade deadline did wonders for Memphis' spacing. They ranked 10th in three-point-attempt rate after the move. Not only that, but the overall half-court product improved; they are 11th in half-court efficiency since the trade deadline without relying a ton on offensive rebounding to get by.

The Lakers do have the size advantage now. The Grizzlies are going to be playing with one big or a combination of Jackson and Xavier Tillman Sr. Los Angeles, meanwhile, gets to run out supersized frontcourt combos with three of Davis, Vanderbilt, LeBron and Rui Hachimura. They should be able to control the glass.

Even so, the Grizzlies have the versatile defenders to make life difficult on the Lakers. Jackson might be the Defensive Player of the Year favorite, and Dillon Brooks arms Memphis with a viable body to throw at LeBron. The Grizzlies are also first in transition frequency on the year. The Lakers like to run themselves, but they're usually the team looking to push the pace. Can an age-38 LeBron hold up against such a young and athletic team? We have our doubts. Especially when the Grizzlies will be coming off more rest, since they didn't have to partake in the play-in tournament like Los Angeles did.

OSB Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies (-158)

Memphis Grizzlies To beat the Los Angeles Lakers

Will Game 1 Between Memphis and Los Angeles be a Blowout?

Here are the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Lakers vs. Grizzlies: 

  • Memphis Grizzlies, -3.5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Lakers, +3.5 (-110)

Regardless of how you feel about the entire series, you have to take the Grizzlies seriously entering Game 1. They have one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA. Memphis is outscoring opponents by 12.5 points per 100 possessions on its own floor—by far and away the NBA's best mark.

To the Lakers' credit, they do have a winning record on the road (20-16). But they just barley beat a Timberwolves team missing Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels on Tuesday night. They looked miles away from playoff-ready at the time. We don't envision that changing before Sunday.

This feels like a series in which the Lakers will have to suffer a loss to understand their opponents. If the Grizzlies win, it'll be comfortably.

OSB Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies, -3.5 (-110)

Memphis Grizzlies To cover the point spread against the Los Angeles Lakers

Both the Grizzlies and Lakers Could be Hard-Pressed to Figure Out Their Offenses in Game 1

Below you can see the latest NBA over/under betting odds for Grizzlies vs. Lakers:

  • Over 226.5 (-110)
  • Under 226.5 (-110)

We get the logic here. Neither the Lakers nor Grizzlies hit a ton of three-pointers, but they get out in transition, which inherently drives up the final score. However, they're both also strong defensive teams with questionable half-court attacks. If either one of them fails to get out on the break, they could fail to top 100 points.

Indeed, two of the three Grizzlies vs. Lakers games from this season cleared 226.5 points. But the pace tends to slow ever so slightly even for fast teams in the playoffs. This series could end up having a bunch of high-scoring affairs. Game 1 won't be one of them.

OSB Prediction: Under 226.5 (-110)

Lakers and Grizzlies To score under 226.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your 2023 NBA playoff betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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