NBA series betting: Memphis and Minnesota are looking to win their first series in years

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Memphis and Minnesota are aiming to break postseason streaks.

The Grizzlies haven’t made the second round of the NBA's Western Conference playoffs since losing in the semifinals in 2015. Memphis has lost in the first round three times in the past six seasons and broke a three-year playoff drought by snagging the No. 8 seed a season ago.

The Timberwolves’ streak is even longer. The No. 7 seed is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and hasn’t made the second round of the playoffs since 2004 when it lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Memphis enters this series as a big favorite at -300 at BetMGM (Game 1, 3:30 p,m. ET Saturday, ESPN). The Grizzlies were easily the second-best team in the conference over the course of the season and were fantastic without star point guard Ja Morant. The Grizzlies went a staggering 20-5 without Morant in the lineup.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) handles the ball under the basket during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans onSaturday, April 9, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) handles the ball under the basket during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans onSaturday, April 9, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Morant had been out since March 18 because of a sore knee but returned to the lineup on on April 9 for the penultimate game of the regular season. He scored 21 points in 27 minutes and looks ready to go for the playoffs.

Minnesota is at +250 to win the series after beating the Los Angeles Clippers in a play-in game on Tuesday night. The Timberwolves beat the Clips despite Karl-Anthony Towns fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Anthony Edwards had 30 points in 37 minutes while DeAngelo Russell had 29.

Even though Minnesota’s a significant underdog, this series could be the most fun of the first round. It’s not often that you get to see two young and emerging teams facing off in the playoffs and Morant, Towns and Edwards are positioning themselves as faces of the NBA for the next decade.

Memphis is also hoping that its preferred starting lineup will gel quickly despite getting very little time together during the regular season because of injury. The lineup of Morant, Dillon Brooks, Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane started just 10 games all season because of injuries. Now that everyone is healthy, Memphis can hope to blitz Minnesota with that lineup and bring players like De’Anthony Melton, Kyle Anderson and Brandon Clarke off the bench.

The series outcome with the lowest odds is a 4-2 Memphis win (or better) at -125. The Grizzlies are +175 to win the series 4-1 or 4-0 while Minnesota is +450 to win the series at 4-2 or better. A five-game series either way is +220 while a six-game series is at +230. A seven-game series is the slight favorite at +200. We don’t recommend betting the series over/under unless you’re convinced it’ll be a sweep. Over 4.5 games is at -800 and under 4.5 games is at +550.

A Grizzlies win in Game 1 on the way to winning the series is at -175 while a Timberwolves Game 1 win and a series win is at +500.

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