The Memphis Grizzlies host the New York Knicks Wednesday at the FedExForum in both teams' season opener. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and the game airs on ESPN.
These teams went in opposite directions last year following a breakout season in 2020-21. Memphis was 2nd in the West and got eliminated in the 2nd round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors last season.
NY finished 11th in the Eastern Conference in 2021 after making the playoffs as a 4-seed the year prior. The Knicks signed PG Jalen Brunson this offseason to help get them back into the playoffs.
Let's roll with the Knicks because they are taking sharp action, match up well against the Grizzlies, and are healthier.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
NY is the 'sharp' side
Knicks-Grizzlies is a Pros vs. Joe's game in the betting market. Per VSIN, nearly 65% of the money is on the Knicks and roughly 60% of the bets placed are on the Grizzlies at the time of publishing.
Since professional bettors place bigger wagers, it's wise to follow the money when it's counter to the public. Oddsmakers have lowered NY from a 7.5-point 'dog on the opener due to the sharp action.
Also, Pinnacle Sportsbook (Pinny) currently lists the Knicks as a 5-point 'dog and Pinny is one of the sharpest shops in the world because it books the largest bets.
Knicks matchup well vs. Grizzlies
NY is 2-2 overall and 3-1 ATS vs. Memphis since the beginning of last season. The Knicks have covered three of their last four meetings with the Grizzlies because NY isn't careless with the ball and rebounds well.
The Knicks will have better ball security with Brunson running the offense. He had a 27/6 assist-to-turnover ratio and a +9 net rating in four games against Memphis last year while playing for the Dallas Mavericks.
Memphis aggressively crash the offensive boards but NY is a good defensive rebounding team. The Knicks were 4th in adjusted defensive rebounding last season, according to CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG).
Knicks big Mitchell Robinson and Grizzlies big Steven Adams effectively cancel each other out. Brunson can keep up with Ja Morant as long as he controls the pace of the game.
Memphis is banged-up
The Grizzlies are missing two starters: SF Dillon Brooks and PF Jaren Jackson Jr, which significantly hampers their defense.
Brooks and Jackson were 1st and 2nd on Memphis in on/off adjusted defensive rating, per CTG. Jackson would defend Knicks All-Star F Julius Randle who leads NY in points, assists, and rebounds per game over the last two seasons.
Randle regressed last year after making his 1st All-Star game in 2021 but Randle balled in both Knicks-Grizzlies meetings in 2021.
He averaged 27.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists vs. Memphis last season and Jackson played in each game. Jackson is one of the best defensive bigs in the NBA and life will be a lot easier for Randle with him out of the lineup.