Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Prediction and Odds for Game 1 (Total Too High for Playoff Matchup)

Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards.
Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards. / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Minnesota Timberwolves are back in the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 seasons, and they’ll have their work cut out for them against a tough Memphis Grizzlies team.

Memphis earned the No. 2 seed in the West while also being the best team in the NBA against the spread, so the Grizzlies get an extra nod of approval from sports bettors everywhere heading into the postseason. 

These two teams split their season series 2-2, and they post two of the best offenses in the NBA this season, coming in No. 1 (Minnesota) and No. 2 (Memphis) in points per game. The Grizzlies are more efficient (No. 4 in offensive rating), but the Wolves (No. 7 in offensive rating) love to push the pace, ranking No. 1 in the NBA. 

This should be an uptempo, fun series between two young teams, but who has the edge in Game 1?

Let’s get into the odds via WynnBET:

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Odds, Spread and Total


  • Wolves +7 (-108)
  • Grizzlies -7 (-108)


  • Wolves: +225
  • Grizzlies: -280


  • 234 (Over -110/Under -110)

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Prediction and Pick

I am leaning towards a contrarian play in this matchup, as I think the UNDER may be the best bet in a game between the two highest-scoring teams in the NBA. 

When you look at the previous four matchups between these two teams, only the Grizzlies overtime win on Nov. 8 finished with a total above 234. 

The Wolves played at an extremely fast pace, but that doesn’t translate to playoff basketball, where teams are traditionally more deliberate with their possessions. 

Over the last six seasons, the average pace in playoff games has been slower than regular season games in each year. 

Here’s how they line up: 

Pace in NBA: Regular Season – Postseason

  • 2020-21: 99.2 – 96.1 (-3.1)
  • 2019-20:  100.3 – 97.6 (-2.7)
  • 2018-19: 100.0 – 97.5 (-2.5)
  • 2017-18: 97.3 – 95.4 (-1.9)
  • 2016-17: 96.4 – 94.6 (-1.8)
  • 2015-16: 95.8 – 93.0 (-2.8)

This isn't groundbreaking, as team’s have to work harder for good shots in the playoffs. Take the Wolves-Clippers play-in game for example, as Minnesota won 109-104 and took just 83 shots when they averaged 91 shots per game in the regular season. 

This is just way too high of a number for me to trust in a playoff game, even with each team boasting a potent attack. 

Lean: UNDER 234 (-108)

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record in the NBA this season here.