After a thrilling batch of seeding games, the 2020 NBA Playoffs are right around the corner. Before the postseason arrives in full, there is still a spot open in the Western Conference, with the league's first-ever play-in tournament set to begin on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET. Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers will match up against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies, with the winner of the mini-series set to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Portland advances with a win on Saturday, while the Grizzlies can force a deciding second game on Sunday with a victory.
From an injury standpoint, the Blazers project to deploy the same roster they had available during the seeding games, but the Grizzlies could be without Tyus Jones (knee), who is listed as doubtful. Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) and Justise Winslow (hip) are out for Memphis. Portland is favored by six points at William Hill, down half a point from the opening Blazers vs. Grizzlies odds. The over-under is set at 231.5. Before making Grizzlies vs. Blazers picks, see the NBA play-in game predictions from SportsLine's advanced computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it's already returned well over $4,700 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 58-32 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,300 on those picks alone. Amazingly, it hasn't missed a single top-rated pick (5-0) since the NBA's restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Blazers vs. Grizzlies spread: Blazers -6
- Blazers vs. Grizzlies over-under: 231.5 points
- Blazers vs. Grizzlies money line: Blazers -280, Grizzlies +240
- PORT: The Blazers are 5-3 against the spread in the bubble
- MEM: The Grizzlies are 2-6 against the spread in the bubble
Why the Blazers can cover
The Blazers are one of the NBA's most explosive offensive teams, and everything begins with Lillard. Portland ranks No. 3 in the NBA in points per possession for the full season and, in Orlando, the Blazers have been able to score at will. Lillard, who is averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists per game, keys the attack on the perimeter, and the Blazers also excel at avoiding mistakes, ranking No. 2 in the NBA in turnover rate.
Defensively, Portland has struggled mightily in Orlando and, from a personnel standpoint, the Blazers don't have tremendous wing talent defensively. In this matchup, however, the Grizzlies don't have the firepower to exploit that weakness, and Portland is a rightful favorite to claim victory as a result.
Why the Grizzlies can cover
The Grizzlies aren't the most explosive offensive team in the Orlando bubble, even with Morant leading the charge. However, opponents have been able to take full advantage of Portland's defense in recent days. The Blazers finished with the third-worst defensive rating during the seeding games, allowing 120.4 points per 100 possessions, and Portland is a below-average defensive team from a talent standpoint.
That won't cure all ills for Memphis, but the Grizzlies do have a top-end creator in Morant and a couple of intriguing shotmakers in Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas. Defensively, the Grizzlies are more impressive than they are on the offensive side, ranking as an above-average team in multiple categories. That provides some level of optimism, even against Lillard and an explosive Portland offense.
How to make Blazers vs. Grizzlies picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with Hassan Whiteside and De'Anthony Melton projected to fall short of their scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Grizzlies vs. Blazers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Blazers vs. Grizzlies spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,700 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.