Basketball picksFebruary 27, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers Betting Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers head East on Thursday night for a showdown with the Indiana Pacers. Indiana sits just inside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, with a 34-24 record, putting them in 6th place. The Blazers are on the outside of the West’s playoff picture, looking in. They’re 26-33, currently in the 9th spot.

We’ll take a closer look at this game in our betting preview.

The battle, which is set to be a good one, lost a bit of its flare this week. It looks like the Blazers will head into the matchup without Damian Lillard, who is day to day with a groin injury.

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, who recently returned from injury, is also once again sidelined with a back injury. We will have to see how the teams fare without one of each of their biggest scorers.

CJ Leads the Way

In the absence of Damian Lillard, teammate C.J. McCollum will have to step up and showcase the skills that make him a star in the league. McCollum is averaging 22 points, four rebounds, and four assists on the season, all while shooting nearly 39% from deep.

Lillard shoots 10 threes per game, so CJ and company will have to find a way to make up for the range they’ll be missing. The answer is likely CJ.

Trevor Ariza will also be assisting with some of those threes. Ariza is shooting over 40% from range, which is an evergreen statement for his entire career. In the paint, the Blazers leave it on the shoulders of Hassan Whiteside, who’s putting up 15.9 points and 14.2 rebounds per game. Whiteside grabs 4 of those boards per game on the offensive end.

Sabonis Rising Up

Domantas Sabonis has turned into an absolute phenom since donning a Pacers jersey. Sabonis is shooting 54% from the field while putting up 18.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. Sabonis’ 18.3 is second on the team to T.J. Warren, who’s putting up 18.5 points per game.

Warren has progressively improved over the last three seasons, becoming an asset for the Pacers.

The Pacers have had plenty of practice without Oladipo. On paper, the game lost some of its flare, but in real life, the Pacers have the advantage when it comes to injuries. Oladipo has only appeared in eight games this season; Dame has started 54 for the Blazers.

Playing Against the Spread

Statistically, Portland is one of the worst teams in the NBA against the spread this season. They have only beat the spread 23 times, only Detroit and Minnesota have fewer. Indiana, on the other hand, has been pretty good. They’re 31-26-1, covering 54.4% of the time.

The Pacers are 20-10 at home this season. They’re 15-14-1 at home against the spread this season. Portland is 10-20 on the road this season, 12-18 against the spread. We will see who’s numbers improve on Thursday night. The Pacers are favored by 10 points headed into tip-off.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksJanuary 31, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Preview

portland-trail-blazers-vs-los-angeles-lakers-betting-preview

Prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster Friday night. The Los Angeles Lakers play their first game since the tragic accident that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on Sunday. The Portland Trail Blazers travel head south for a showdown at Staples Center, the house that Kobe built.

Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET, after what should be an emotional pregame. The Lakers are 3-3 in their last six games. Philadelphia, Boston, and Orlando have all beaten the Western Conference-leading Lakers in the last couple of weeks.

Portland is also 3-3 in its last six games, as the Mavericks have gotten them twice, and they also lost to Oklahoma City on the road. Portland is currently on the outskirts of the playoff picture, but it only trails the Grizzlies by three games. The Trail Blazers can’t afford to get much farther away from the eight spot.

Here is a betting preview of a game that will likely take a backseat to the celebration of Bryant on Friday.

Blazing, Kind Of

The Blazers seem to be in the same position each season, good enough to make the playoffs, not good enough to win a championship. Rodney Hood and Jusuf Nurkic have been ruled out indefinitely, so the Blazers have to move forward without them.

Carmelo Anthony made his return to the NBA with the Trail Blazers and has played well in his 33 starts, averaging 15.6 points and 6.7 boards per game.

Hassan Whiteside has brought the intensity from Miami to Portland this season. The big man is averaging 15.6 points and 14 rebounds on the season. He may not have Nurkic’s shooting ability, but he can bang with the bigs down low with the best of them.

More Than Basketball

For the Lakers, Friday night’s game means so much more than just basketball. I’m sure there won’t be a dry eye in Staples Center. The question becomes, will they play great in Kobe’s honor, or will they be too overcome with emotion to remain focused on basketball.

It honestly wouldn’t surprise anyone if LeBron James put this team on his back the rest of the way in honor of his fallen hero.

James and Anthony Davis have led the Lakers to 36 wins already, with a three-game lead in the Western Conference. They combine for over 50 points, 17 rebounds, and 14 assists a game.

Davis and fellow big man Javale McGee are both day-to-day headed into Friday night, so it’s up in the air if Davis’ production will be available.

The Night of Remembrance

It’ll be a night of remembering and honoring a legend at Staples Center. A night you won’t want to miss.

Only two teams in the league have covered the spread less than the Blazers. They’ve only covered 18 times this season. The Lakers haven’t been extremely proficient at covering either, as they are 24-21-1 against the spread this season.

The Lakers are favored by 13 with an over/under of 230 in this showdown. Personally, I was hoping for a spread of 8 or 24, but 13 works. Be sure to tune in for a once-in-a-lifetime tribute.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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