Lakers vs Grizzlies Preview and Free Pick [Game 1]

LA Lakers (43-39) at Memphis (51-31)
When: Sunday, April 16th 2023
Where: FedEx Forum,
Memphis, TN
Time: 3:00 ET | TV: ABC
Opening Odds: Memphis -3/230

A month ago, it appeared that the Los Angeles Lakers were going to completely miss the playoffs. But a late-season surge propelled them into the Play-In round, where they took care of business against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Tuesday. Now comes the tougher task: beating the No. 1 seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Game 1 is set for Sunday afternoon with the Grizz coming in as 3.5-point favorites at home.

Although it’s a 2 vs 7 matchup, the Lakers are getting a lot of love from oddsmakers. Memphis is just a -140 favorite to win the series and looks like they’ll be underdogs when the series shifts back to Los Angeles. The Lakers won two of the three meetings during the regular season despite not having Anthony Davis and LeBron James together in any of the matchups.


The Under cashed in all three meetings and is on a 14-3-1 run overall between these two teams. Also, the Under is 9-1-2 in the last 12 meetings at FedEx Forum. Memphis is 6-2 ATS in the last eight home outings against the Lakers, but the Grizzlies are just 1-4 in their last five games overall.

Memphis struggled down the stretch, going 3-4 straight-up and losing out on the West’s No. 1 seed by just two games. The Grizzlies will look to slow down the Lakers interior game without Steven Adams, who averaged a team-high 11.5 rebounds per game during the regular season. Adams is dealing with a knee injury that has kept him out since January.

L.A. had to comeback from a double-digit deficit at the half Tuesday against the Timberwolves to win in overtime. James led the way with 30 points and 10 rebounds and a key assist to Dennis Schroder, who nailed a game-tying three pointer to send the game to overtime. Schroder played 33 minutes off the bench and scored 21 points. Starting point guard D’Angelo Russell struggled to 1-of-9 shooting. Davis ended the night with 24 points and 15 rebounds in helping L.A. get into the first round. Davis scored 30-plus points eight times over the last month of the season and the Lakers went 13-6 since March 3.


Memphis led the league with 35 home victories during the regular season and they’ll need to protect home court in this series. The Grizz were just 16-25 away from FedEx Forum. Ja Morant is the unquestioned leader, averaging 26.2 points, 8.1 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. Jaren Jackson Jr., one of three finalists named Friday for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, will look to contain Davis. Jackson averaged a league-high 3.0 blocks per game in helping Memphis hold their opponents to a league-best 45.3 percent shooting percentage.

This should be a fun series with a lot of great playmakers. This is also a series where I can see the home team winning every game. Memphis is the best home team in the league and I think will get off to a nice start in this series. The home team has won seven of the last eight meetings.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.

Pick: Grizzlies -3.5