NBA Betting Odds — To Even Things, Thunder Has to Get Outside Game Going Vs. Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies have had success adhering to a rather simple defensive philosophy, and NBA bettors can assume that they will continue to take that approach as they head into Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Memphis has managed to draw the least effective elements out of the two biggest guns on the Oklahoma City roster. And they have put the Thunder on the ropes. They are playing in a building where they have been virtually untouchable lately, winning 15 straight games at the Fed Ex Forum, where basketball betting action will be taking place tonight at 9:35 PM ET.

Along the way the Grizzlies have been able to take the Thunder out of its game, but with the added component of possible desperation, could things somehow turn around for OKC on Saturday night?

In the NBA betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetDSI, the Thunder is laying a small number on the road:

Oklahoma City Thunder -3
Memphis Grizzlies +3

Over 188.5 points -110
Under 188.5 points -110

Memphis coach Dave Joerger has basically made the declaration that his team is not going to give up any easy baskets to the Thunder if they can help it. So what they are doing is packing more toward the lane in a pseudo-zone that is designed to force the Thunder to take shots from the perimeter, as Tony Allen (despite his late-game blunders on Thursday) has been triggering a defensive effort that has brought a lot of kudos from observers around the league. If Oklahoma City can hit some of those outside shots with regularity, they can possibly goad the Grizzlies into changing things up.

But as NBA bettors know, the Thunder hasn’t had a lot of success from long-range either. In the three games they have played, they have hit 13 of their 51 three-pointers, or a little better than 25%. The Grizzlies want to minimize the number of times Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook attack the basket, and that has happened. The result is that star players who have to get their shots – out of necessity in this case, because there aren’t a lot of other legitimate offensive outlets – aren’t getting the best looks. For instance, Durant was just 10 for 27 on Thursday, with Westbrook going nine for 26. That can make for an ugly offense.

BetDSI customers might see that as a total formula for disaster. Yet the Thunder still took Thursday night’s game into overtime before losing 98-95. And that is in a venue where Memphis had compiled fourteen straight victories. What would happen if some of those Oklahoma City metrics improved just a little? That is a worthwhile question for those evaluating the NBA betting odds to consider.

One might also ask what Memphis would do, should Oklahoma City choose to employ a similar defensive approach. After all, it’s not as if the Grizzlies possess a lot of perimeter power; in fact, they have made only ten out of 37 shots from three-point range in this series. And the Thunder, with people Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins in the trenches, should be able to mix it up with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. So can the Thunder get things even in the “grindhouse”?

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