Dec 29 NBA Action: Miami Heat @ Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat +5 (-105) @ Memphis Grizzlies
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
December 29, 2015, 7:00PM CST
We are looking for Miami to redeem themselves after falling at the Brooklyn Nets last night from the position of seven point favorites.
Our multi-factor model calls for the Grizzlies to pull off the win with a 2-3 point margin, making the Heat +5 an attractive opportunity.
Since 2010, the Grizz are 7-3 against the spread versus Miami, including a perfect 4-0 stand at the Grindhouse. However, the current Memphis team differs in character from the Grizzlies of years past.
Last year, Memphis' defense was its calling card, while this season, the Grizzlies are 27th by Opponents' True Shooting Percentage. Conversely, Miami ascended from 22nd by this measure last year to 5th currently.
While Memphis' decline guarding the ball is evident, identifying areas where the Grizzlies have improved is a much more difficult exercise. For instance, Memphis is by no means an offensive juggernaut, ranking 27th by Average Points Per Game (versus 21st last year) and 25th by True Shooting Percentage, a five spot slide since the 2014 season. Further, Memphis ranks 20th in assists, compared to 16th last year; 28th in rebounding, versus 20th a year ago; and 20th in fouls committed this year, down from 8th last year.
In contrast, in addition to being one of the premier defenses in the league, the Heat score the ball with great efficiency too--despite featuring a deliberately down tempo offense (Miami ranks 5th by True Shooting Percentage).
Both teams pound the glass poorly and tend toward one-on-one offense rather than sharing the ball.
Bottom line: Our framework favors Miami to cover at Memphis tonight, and we are obliging, as, as far as we can tell, Miami is the superior team on both sides of the ball. Further, Memphis' propensity to foul is likely to translate to easy points for the Heat tonight, considering that Wade, Bosh, Chalmers and Whiteside all rank among the League's top-50 in free throws attempted. In fact, aside from home court, we can not identify an area where the Grizzlies have a clear statistical edge in this contest.