Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#515 Memphis Grizzlies vs.
#516 Denver Nuggets
Monday, April 19, 2021 at 9:05pm EDT
Pepsi Center, Denver
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Memphis Grizzlies will head on the road to the Pepsi Center on Monday night for a Western Conference showdown versus the Denver Nuggets.

Jamal Murray’s injury hasn’t slowed down the Nuggets yet. Denver is fresh off of back-to-back wins and it has won 10 of its last 12 games to remain in fourth place in the West. Meanwhile, Memphis has moved one step closer to the coveted No. 6 seed after winning three of its last four games to come in with a 29-26 overall record. Currently, in eighth place, the Grizzlies are now just 2.5-games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for a chance to avoid the NBA’s play-in tournament.

Can the Grizzlies stay hot on the road against the Nuggets on Monday night?

Valunciunas out, Jackson Jr. doubtful vs. Denver

Memphis topped the Milwaukee Bucks 128-115 for its third win in four games on Saturday evening. Grayson Allen shot 7-for-10 from 3-point range and finished with a team-high 26 points to lead six Grizzlies in double-figures on the night. Dillon Brooks had 21 points and Jonas Valunciunas chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds in the win.

For the first time during the 2021 season, Memphis might finally have star forward Jaren Jackson Jr. back on the floor. Jackson Jr. was upgraded from out to doubtful ahead of the game, meaning there could be a possibility that he makes his season debut versus the Nuggets. Fellow big man Jonas Valnciunas will be out for this game due to a concussion.

According to dunksandthrees.com, Memphis has outplayed its current 29-26 overall record. The Grizzlies enter Monday’s matchup ranked 10th in the league with an adjusted net rating of +2.1. Memphis has been flashing improvement on offense, where it has climbed to 13th in the NBA with an adjusted 112.7 offensive rating. They have also been among the league’s best defensive teams, posting an adjusted 110.6 defensive rating, good for eighth in the NBA.

Nuggets focused on limiting Gordon's workload

Denver cruised to its second straight win 128-99 versus the Houston Rockets on Friday night. Nikola Jokic continued his MVP campaign with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists on the night while Michael Porter Jr. chipped in 21 points for the Nuggets in the win.

Head coach Mike Malone has been concerned about newly-acquired forward Aaron Gordon’s workload since joining the team. Before the game versus Houston, Malone indicated that he has had conversations with Gordon to incorporate some rest days and limit his minutes when possible. As a result, Gordon played just 22 minutes in Friday’s win, his lowest total since his Nuggets debut on March 28.

According to dunksandthrees.com, Denver enters the week ranked fourth in the league with an adjusted net rating of +5.3 through 56 games. The Nuggets sport the NBA’s second-best offense with an adjusted 117.8 rating but they’ve slid to 18th with an adjusted defensive rating of 112.5.

Best Bets for this Game

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Memphis comes in playing some of its best basketball of the season. The Grizzlies have found ways to win despite dealing with numerous injuries all season long. That should be no different here, especially with Valunciunas dealing with a concussion in this game. Even with the doubtful tag, Iโ€™m not expecting Jackson Jr. to suit up for this game. With Memphis currently in the midst of a seven-game road trip, it seems more likely that heโ€™ll return at the end of the month. That should leave the playoff-hungry Grizzlies with a chip on their shoulder in this matchup. Take Memphis to cover the number on the road in Denver on Monday evening.

Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies +5

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams operate at opposite ends of the pace spectrum but there should still be some value on the over in this game. The Nuggets are one of the leagueโ€™s best offensive teams and they will be in a pace-up spot at home here. Memphis ranks ninth in the league in pace and sixth in average possession length on offense but should be able to have a solid offensive performance against a Denver team that also happens to rank in the bottom half of the league on the defensive end of the floor. Take this matchup to go over the projected total on Monday night.

Prediction: Under 228
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.