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Grizzlies vs. Pelicans: Back-Motivated New Orleans at Home

Chris Baker breaks up the NBA matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, March 5th.

Grizzlies vs. Pelicans Odds

Grizzlies Odds+5
Pelicans odds-5
over under231
Time8 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds about FanDuel. Get the up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Pelicans have three final games to cement their playoffs or play-in tournament spot, while the Grizzlies have all but suspended the 2-seed in the Western Conference. Will the Grizzlies pack in and rest their players on a back-to-back, or will they struggle to earn the 1-set despite being two full games behind and three games to go?

Let’s break down the odds along with a bet selection and prediction for Grizzlies vs Pelicans.

The Grizzlies have pretty much locked the 2-seed and I would expect them to rest some of their key players tonight as they come from a back-to-back.

They looked a step slow against a G-League Trail Blazers team last night, but you can’t really fault them for that. It’s hard to get up for a game against a few G-League players and their complacency almost cost them the game as it was tied late in the fourth quarter. All three, Jaren Jackson Jr., Ja Morant and Desmond Bane exceeded 33 minutes so I would expect some of these guys to be resting here.

The Grizzlies know that all they need is either a Kings win or loss to lock down the 2-seed, and the Kings will likely take a loss given the difficulty of their remaining schedule.

The Kings face a Mavericks team that includes Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving tonight after taking on New Orleans last night. The Mavericks still technically have a chance to make the play-in, so it sounds like they’ll be in action tonight. The Kings also have to face the Warriors and Nuggets in their last two games.

I mention all of this to state that this game likely means very little to the Grizzlies, and I expect them to prioritize playoff health over defeating the Pelicans. The probability of the Grizzlies resting is expressed by the current line of Grizzlies +5 on most sportsbooks.

That line tells me the expectation is for a bunch of key Grizzlies starters to rest tonight. Expect Memphis to get its younger players going in a largely meaningless game tonight.

Now that we’ve established how meaningless this game is to the Grizzlies, let’s talk about how important it is to the Pelicans.

The New Orleans Pelicans came off a blowout loss to the Kings last night. That loss dropped them to eighth place in the Western Conference after leveling with the Lakers last night. With three games to go, the Pelicans are 1.5 games behind the 5-Seed Warriors, but also just 0.5 games ahead of the 9-Seed Timberwolves.

This team has a wide range of results and should look to capitalize tonight as their final game against the Timberwolves should be extremely difficult. Expect the Pelicans to handle this matchup with the Grizzlies. like a playoff game. This has been a tough matchup for the Pelicans this season, but they should have a massive talent advantage tonight as I expect Memphis to rest most of their main stars.

Grizzlies Pelicans Pick

It’s difficult to pick a side without knowing 100% who plays for the Grizzlies, but given the wildly different motivations for each team, I’d have to lean towards the Pelicans at -5.

The Pelicans will treat this duel like a seventh game, while the Grizzlies have very little to win and everything to lose if someone gets injured this late in the season. Given these incentive differences, I’ll put the -5 on the pelicans.