The final week of the NBA betting season kicks off with a relatively light schedule on Monday, April 23rd, but the showcase game on NBA TV pits the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Cavaliers haven’t been great this year, but at least they have taken some strides in the right direction. Kyrie Irving, last year’s No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, has averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.8 boards per game, and he is really proving that he can be the cornerstone of this franchise going forward. Other names like Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson have stood out as potential players to build around as well. That being said, down the stretch, things haven’t gone all that well for Cleveland. It has suffered three losses of 18 or more points in the last two weeks, including getting throttled yesterday by the San Antonio Spurs 114-98 on the road. This is a tough spot for the team, playing the second end of a back-to-back, and in that position, the team is only averaging 88.8 points per game this year and is 9-11 ATS on the campaign. This could be the game that Semih Erden returns to the fold for the Cavs, as he has missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury. Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson have already been shut down for the season with injuries.
Memphis is surging right now, having won four games in a row, but there is a real question about the class of opponent that the team has played. If the Utah Jazz don’t get into the playoffs, this will be the eighth straight game against a team that won’t be in the postseason, and the regular season will wrap up with a game against the Orlando Magic, who may as well not be in the playoffs considering the fact that they don’t have Dwight Howard for the rest of the campaign. The Grizz might be winning games, but they aren’t covering them. They have just one cover in their last seven, and they came dangerously close to losing to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, one of the worst teams in the history of the league just three nights ago. It is still very interesting that Zach Randolph is coming off of the bench at this point. He has only played in 26 games this year, but he is good for 11.8 points and 8.0 boards per game. There are seven players that really lead the way for the Grizzlies on a nightly basis, and all seven are averaging at least 8.7 points per game. Rudy Gay is the team’s leading scorer with 19.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
The Final Word: Memphis clearly won’t let this game slip away, knowing that it still has a shot at the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. To ask it to lay two touchdowns though, is a bit much, especially against a Cleveland team that is still fighting hard and is taking every game that it can as a chance to grow as a team.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Memphis Grizzlies Free Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers +13.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.