Mar 29th NBA Action: Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs -8.0 vs Memhpis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies will enter tonight's matchup coming off (uncharacteristic) consecutive blow out losses. As a result of recent routs versus Golden State and Cleveland, Memphis has ceded their lead lead over Houston in the playoff race, and the Grizzlies and Rockets are now tied for 2nd in the West.
The Spurs, on the other hand, are healthly, and clicking. Most recently, San Antonio collected back-to-back wins/covers against playoff teams from the West, and are 10-3 in March straight up and 9-4 against the spread.
Our Real Plus/Minus-based power ratings for this week see the Spurs overtaking the Grizzlies by about 5 points tonight when Memphis visits the AT&T Center. However, Memphis will likely have to go this evening without starting Small Forward, Tony Allen, who strained a hamstring Friday's home loss (Allen is currently listed as doubtful on injury wires).
While we originally favored the Grizz to cover, Allen's potential absence is quite literally a game-changer. Allen's +4.50 RPM translates to a void of more than 4 spread points in his absence (assuming Allen would have played an average number of minutes, and that total possessions tonight would equal Memphis' average number of possessions away, plus San Antonio's average at home). Further, if Vince Carter and Jordan Adams pick up Allen's minutes (which we estimate is most likely), the loss of margin points swells to close to 6.
As such, if Allen is in fact held out of Memphis' lineup this evening, we recommend betting the Spurs to cover. Under such circumstances, we would expect San Antonio to win by double digits.