Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#537 Memphis Grizzlies 218 vs.
#538 Utah Jazz -11.5
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 10:05pm EST
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
Written by Sporty Jordy



#537 Memphis
#538 Utah


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When and where: December 7, 2019, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 10:00 PM ET

The slumping Utah Jazz hope to avoid a fourth consecutive loss on Saturday when hosting the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. An ugly 121-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers represented rock bottom for a Jazz team that has suddenly turned into a liability on defense. Those struggles have caused them to lose five of their last six games. The young Grizzlies know a thing or two about losing. They are trying to bounce back from back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers.

Grizzlies facing reality

Losing is the least fun thing to do in the NBA, but the Grizzlies are exactly where they need to be right now. They are clearly on the rebuild and accumulating the right pieces around star rookie guard Ja Morant in hopes of one day competing for a playoff spot. That day obviously isn’t any time soon after watching them lose their 15th game of the season to a bad Bulls team.

They’ll try to turn it around in Thursday’s run-in with the Jazz. The Grizzlies are going to have quite the conundrum on their hands in figuring out ways to slow down star guard Donovan Mitchell and forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Memphis sits at 22nd in the league in defensive efficiency with opponents averaging a 46.2 field goal shooting percentage against them.

They have hope in the Jazz continuing to slip up defensively and open up opportunities for rookie Ja Morant to steal the show. Not many offensive opportunities have existed for a Grizzlies team that ranks fifth-worst in offensive efficiency. The future is clearly a long ways from now for Morant and company.

While Kyle Anderson is officially listed as doubtful for the game with a heel injury, Dillon Brooks is questionable with a shoulder ailment.

Can the Jazz find their defensive mojo?

Does anyone remember when the Jazz had the best defensive team in basketball?

Those days are long and gone after the team’s nightmare road trip that ended with them going 1-4 against at least four teams that mattered. Yet, the scariest problem for the Jazz has been their lack of good defense being played on the floor. They obviously aren’t a great offensive team, but they’ve always been able to overcome that to some degree by playing tremendous defense.

But times have surely changed as the season moves along. The Jazz have slipped to the 10th-ranked defense, while coming in 8th with their allowed shooting percentage (43.7). They’ll be fortunate enough to not be facing a juggernaut offensive team like the Lakers on Saturday.

If there was ever a game for them to get back on track defensively, this would be the game considering the offensive struggles for the Grizzlies this season.

Morant is a young player trying to learn how to be a professional, while also being called on to led a team of professionals. It isn’t a situation conducive for winning.

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There’s no place like home for the Jazz.

They are 8-2 when playing at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. There is also the fact that they’ve simply played the tougher schedule on the road so far this season. They went through the Lakers, Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks—all teams expected to be around as viable playoff contenders.

The Jazz still rank top-10 in the league in nearly every important defensive stat. That’s more than enough to lock up a Grizzlies team still searching for an identity with a rookie as their leading scorer. Morant and company are about to get a tough defensive lesson in the form of Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert.

On the offensive end of the floor, the Jazz still have the fifth-ranked 3-point shooting team in the league. So there is always a possibility they could make a splash early. This is one of those games where it’s simply best to stick with what you know. The Jazz are a good basketball team on a bad stretch. They’ll get it together.

I’m taking the Jazz and laying the points.

Prediction: Utah Jazz (-12)

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There wasn’t much offense the last time these two teams locked horns on the road in Memphis. The Jazz showed up defensively and shut the Grizzlies down by holding them to only 94 points. Yet, the Grizzlies were the real story of the game.

Even in defeat, they held the Jazz to a respectable 103 points. I expect the Jazz to come storming out and looking to prove a point after losing their last three straight games. That statement will hold true whether defensive stalwart Mike Conley is ready to play or not. I’m taking the under total here.

Prediction: Under (218)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.