Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz Game 1 Prediction, Playoff Odds

Payton Matthews | Updated May 22, 2021

The Jazz are expected to get an added boost to the lineup for Game 1 against Memphis on Sunday, as leading scorer Donovan Mitchell is expected to return from an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since April 16.

Memphis
38-34
AT
May 23, 2021, 9:30 PM ET
Vivint Smart Home Arena
Utah
52-20
Pointspread +8 -110
Moneyline +285
Over / Under o +217

49%

Betting Action

51%

Pointspread -8 -110
Moneyline -348
Over / Under u +217

49%

Betting Action

51%

The well-rested Utah Jazz are the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA playoffs and open their Western Conference first-round matchup at home against former Raptor Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night, with Utah opening as a 9-point favourite to win on the NBA odds.

Grizzlies vs. Jazz NBA Playoff Odds

Utah finished the shortened regular season at 50-22, one game up on the Phoenix Suns for the top seed throughout the NBA playoffs. It’s the first time in franchise history the Jazz finished with the NBA’s best regular season record. They are in the playoffs for a fifth straight year but were bounced in the first round of the previous two.

Even though the regular season was 72 games instead of the usual 82, Utah still hit a franchise-record 1,205 three-point field goals, which equates to an NBA-record 16.7 made per game. Utah was the only team in the league to make at least 10 in every game. The team’s net rating of 9.4 was the 15th-best in NBA history. Despite all that, Utah is only a +310 third-favourite to win the West behind the Lakers (+190) and Clippers (+220).

Being honest, this writer half-wrote this story ahead of time assuming that Steph Curry and the Warriors would beat visiting Memphis on Friday night and face Utah. Alas, the Grizzlies pulled off the OT surprise.

Utah swept the season series 3-0 vs. Memphis, but all three games took place within a span of five days in late March, and two were very close. The Jazz are 7-3 straight up in the past 10 meetings but 5-5 against the spread.

Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis beat visiting San Antonio by four points on Wednesday, as a 4-point favourite and closed as a 4.5-point underdog Friday against the Warriors, before upsetting Steph Curry and Golden State 117-112 in overtime. That was easily the best of all the play-in tournament games. Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant was terrific with 35 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals – Memphis led the NBA in steals during the regular season and had a whopping 14 on Friday. Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.

The Grizzlies have two Canadians on the roster in Dillon Brooks (14 points on Friday, a starter and a stellar defender) and Brandon Clarke. For some odd reason, Clarke has fallen out of the rotation completely of late, despite averaging 10.3 points and 5.6 rebounds during the regular season. He had been dealing with an injury but played a bit in the regular-season finale, but not since then. Memphis is 9-2 ATS in its past 11 as an underdog.

Utah Jazz

Utah is going to have two award winners this season in centre Rudy Gobert, who will win NBA Defensive Player of the Year for third time in his career, and guard Jordan Clarkson, who will win Sixth-Man of the Year. Gobert ranked first in the NBA in defensive rating (100.6), first in defensive win shares (5.2), first in blocked shots (190) and second in rebounding (13.5 rpg). Gobert isn’t exactly a slouch on offence either, as he shot a league-high 67.5 per cent from the field, although many of those makes were dunks (league-high 231). Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists – he started just one game.

Jazz leading scorer and All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell (career-high 26.4 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.4 rpg) hasn’t played since April 16 due to an ankle injury but has been practicing this week and expects to play Sunday. All-Star point guard Mike Conley missed a decent chunk near the end with his own injury but did make it back for the final two games of the regular season. Utah has no Canadians on the roster but did acquire guard Matt Thomas from the Raptors at the trade deadline, although doesn’t get many minutes.

NBA Playoff Prediction: Who Will Win Grizzlies vs. Jazz?

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