The Daily Sweat: Can Ja Morant, Grizzlies bounce back vs. Timberwolves?

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After a Game 1 upset, the Memphis Grizzlies are looking to get back on track Tuesday night in their first-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On the whole, the NBA playoffs have been short on upsets. Before the Dallas Mavericks knocked off the Utah Jazz on Monday night, the Grizzlies were the only other betting favorite to lose a postseason game.

Memphis, the No. 2 seed in the West, was a 6.5-point favorite in Game 1 but ended up losing 130-117 at home on Saturday. The Grizzlies, the best ATS team in the NBA, just had no answers for Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves. Edwards had 36 points in his postseason debut while Towns had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Malik Beasley pitched in 23 off the bench.

It was an impressive performance by Minnesota, and Memphis didn’t quite look right after going more than a week without playing, especially as the T-Wolves poured in 41 points in the first quarter.

With the series soon headed to Minnesota, Ja Morant and the Grizzlies all of a sudden find themselves very much in need of a win.

And like in Game 1, the Grizzlies are favored by 6.5 points for Game 2 at BetMGM with the total way up at 240.5 (these are the NBA’s two highest-scoring teams). Memphis is 27-15 ATS as a home team this season and 17-9 ATS coming off a loss.

This postseason, favorites are 15-2 straight-up and 12-5 against the spread. Most bettors believe the Grizzlies will continue that trend. According to BetMGM, 71% of the bets and 84% of the money on the point spread is on Memphis -6.5.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) tries to fend off Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) during the first half during Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) tries to fend off Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) during the first half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Memphis. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Two other NBA playoff games

Elsewhere in the NBA playoffs, the league’s two No. 1 seeds are also in action.

The Miami Heat, the East’s top seed, will host the Atlanta Hawks for Game 2 of their series. The Heat, following a dominant Game 1 victory, are favored by 7.5 points at BetMGM. The total is listed at 219.5.

The Heat, who limited Trae Young to just eight points on 1-of-12 shooting in Game 1, are receiving 69% of the bets and 80% of the money at BetMGM.

In the West, the Phoenix Suns are 9.5-point favorites over the New Orleans Pelicans. In Game 1, the Suns withstood a late charge from the Pelicans and emerged with a 110-99 win. Bettors are overwhelmingly siding with Phoenix in this one as 86% of the bets and 89% of the money at BetMGM are on the Suns -9.5.

Busy day in Major League Baseball

Because of a few rainouts on Monday, there are a whopping 17 MLB games on Tuesday. Included are doubleheaders between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants and New York Mets.

Other intriguing matchups on Tuesday include the Boston Red Sox (-145) at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago Cubs as slight home favorites (-105) over the Tampa Bay Rays, the struggling Philadelphia Phillies as road favorites (-135) over the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers (-145) at home against the Atlanta Braves.

NHL regular season winding down

There are just 10 days remaining in the NHL’s regular season and there are 10 games on the slate for Tuesday night.

One of the more interesting games on the board is the St. Louis Blues hosting the Boston Bruins. The Blues are home favorites at -135 with the total listed at 6.

The Bruins are in first place in the Eastern Conference’s wild-card standings while the Blues are fighting for home-ice advantage in their impending Central Division series with the Minnesota Wild. The Blues currently have a one-point edge over the Wild, who are -275 favorites on the road against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

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