Friday, August 7:
Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs (-1.5)
- Moneyline: SAS -125
- Over/Under: 227
- Coverage: Fox Sports SW at 1:00pm EST
First up in the bubble on Friday are Utah and San Antonio, but noticeably absent from the opening tip will be Rudy Gobert (load management). The Jazz’s leading rebounder will join leading scorer Donovan Mitchell (left peroneal strain) and veteran point guard Mike Conley (right knee soreness) on the bench, rendering Utah’s lineup severely depleted and offering San Antonio an opportunity to inch closer to the West’s coveted eighth seed. The Spurs are 3-1 ATS thus far in Orlando and have twice beaten a fully healthy Jazz team this season, so look for DeMar DeRozan and company to capitalize on Utah’s injuries and ignite their playoff push.
Game Pick: SAS -1.5
Oklahoma City Thunder (-4.5) vs. Memphis Grizzlies
- Moneyline: OKC -185
- Over/Under: 224
- Coverage: NBATV at 4:00pm EST
Friday’s late afternoon contest features two teams traveling on vastly different trajectories. The Thunder are fresh off a 19-point blowout of the top-seeded Lakers, while the Grizzlies are losers of four consecutive games since the restart and one loss away from relinquishing command of the eighth seed. Despite Oklahoma City’s statistical advantage on paper, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Memphis is due for an imminent momentum-shifting victory.
In the absence of a strong lean on the game result, consider pivoting to a player prop. Much of the criticism for the Grizzlies’ recent slide has been aimed at Ja Morant, who took to Twitter earlier this week to fire back at his critics:
God bless 🙏🏽 & appreciate you for dat extra motivation 🤝 https://t.co/2cOjztq52v
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) August 4, 2020
In his lone game since the tweet, Ja dropped 20 points on 8-15 FG opposite Utah’s stout defense, and he’s exceeded his season average of 17.8 PPG in three of his four starts in the bubble. Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins has also afforded Morant an average of 38 minutes of playing time since the restart, meaning he’ll have ample opportunities to get shots up on Oklahoma City’s defense. Look for Ja to harness that extra motivation and continue to excel with a chip on his shoulder.
Prop Pick: Ja Morant Over 20.5 Points
- ProjectSpurs/Paul Garcia
- AP Photo/Brandon Dill