Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Friday, May 21st (2021)

The Eastern Conference play-in for the eighth seed was not without its moments but paled in comparison to the competitiveness we have seen and expect to see from the Western Conference. Tonight’s matchup will be between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies for the right to face the Utah Jazz in the first round. Despite being depleted, the Warriors are tagged as five point favorites against Ja Morant and co. 

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1. Warriors -4.5 | -112 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Golden State Warriors have the firepower needed to run away from the Memphis Grizzlies. Still, they will need to be careful not to let Jonas Valanciunas cook like he did on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. Still, the five point spread gives us the latitude to pull out a cover even if the Grizzlies keep it close until the final minutes. The Warriors have a 70 plus percent chance to win outright and close to a 60 percent chance to cover the spread tonight. Memphis does not have a stopper to contend with Steph Curry and could see their lights shot out relatively early in this contest. They will have their work cut out for them due to missing some rotation players, but are clearly the superior team, even depleted. Golden State beat Memphis by 12 on SundayTap for one unit at -5, but consider two units if you manage to find it at -4.5 or lower before game time.

2. Over 221 Points | -108 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The total still sits at 221 at DraftKings. It has already climbed to 222 at other sportsbooks and only figures to continue to rise as the day progresses. At first glance, this matchup reads like an under play. The Golden State Warriors saw the under hit in 58.9 percent of their matchups, while the Memphis Grizzlies have seen it hit in 50.7. However, the books have reacted to this trend by placing the total lower than we may have otherwise seen it. All three of the games played between these two teams this season have fallen under the 222 required for the over to click, and the slower pace of playoff basketball will not help matters. So, why are bettors pushing the number up by virtue of sharp action on the over? During the course of their last 15 contests, the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies have combined for over 227 points. The sharps also realize that this line was set lower than projected, created the sort of innate value they love to pounce on. For reference, the regular season meeting between these two teams, on Sunday, was set at 229. Trends keep this to a one unit play, but the suggestion here is to follow the money on the over. 

3. Steph Curry Under 38.5 Points | -117 at DraftKings Sportsbook

I will admit that I was steadfast in the belief that I was going to get a taste of the over regardless of whether or not the analysis determined it was worthy of inclusion in this column. Curry has been unconscious recently, playing at a level befitting his status as a transformational talent. However, 38.5 points is simply a ludicrous number that common sense dictates that an under play is mandatory. Yes, Curry scored 46 on Memphis in his lone contest against them this season (which was just five days ago), but everything else points to the under, including the specific number he was tagged at. Curry has hit 39 points just twice in his last 10 contests. So why is the 38.5 important? He hit exactly 37 in three of his last 11 and 38 in one of them. The number here can drop before game time to the suggestion is to hold out as long as possible, especially with the juice already on the under. I despise fading greatness, but when looking for value on a player prop, we need to look no further. 

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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