Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors Betting Lines Analysis
By Eric Uribe
Almost no one expects Portland to beat Golden State. Bookies put the Trail Blazers odds of pulling off the stunning upset at a whopping +2500 — the highest among all first-round playoff series. But don’t tell that to Damian Lillard.
Days ago, Lillard provided fodder for NBA fans when he went out on a limb and predicted, “Blazers in six.” We love the confidence, but let’s be real, the Warriors are going to overmatch them in a hurry.
But to be fair, Portland didn’t roll over when these two teams met in last year’s playoffs semi-finals. The Dubs won in five games, but two of those wins came down to the wire. Then again, Golden State didn’t have Kevin Durant on last year’s 73-win roster.
Durant’s health is the key storyline going forward. After missing 19 games with a knee injury, he’s finally back in the lineup. However, getting him to a 100 percent is the priority, so expect Durant to be a step slower than usual. Then again, a slightly slower Durant is still better than most NBA players.
The two teams met four times in the regular season, resulting in a Golden State sweep — including a 45-point route back in December. But this isn’t the same Trail Blazers team. A midseason trade that landed center Jusuf Nurkic has turned Portland’s fortunes 180 degrees. The seven-footer and 280-pound center has given the team a presence down low that they sorely needed.
Since March 1, the Blazers own the second-best record in the league at 17-6. None of those four losses against Golden State came with Nurkic on the roster.
However, akin to Durant, health is an issue for Nurkic. A right leg fracture has kept him out of the lineup as of late and he is listed as questionable for game 1. Monitoring his health will help you bet this series.
The matchup to keep tabs on in this series is the backcourt. Between Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, along with Lillard and CJ McCollum, this series will pit two of the NBA’s best backcourts against one another. All four averaged at least 22 points per game — ranking in the league’s top-24 in scoring. So get your popcorn ready and embrace the flurry of points you’ll see from both tandems.
Speaking of scoring, it’s going to be raining three-pointers throughout this series. Both these teams love to shoot from downtown. Golden State ranked third in the NBA from three-point land, hitting on 38.3 of their attempts. Portland was right behind at sixth with a 37.5 percentage. If one of them has an off night shooting, then expect the other to run away with the game.
Where the Trail Blazers will really be exploited in this series is on the defensive end. They gave up the sixth most points in the league at 108.5 per game. Heck, the Warriors put up a jarring 125 points a game against them during their four regular season meetings.
The Dubs will have no problem zoning in on Lillard and company. For all their offensive prowess and highlight reel plays, they remain one of the best defenses in the NBA. Per 100 possessions, Golden State allowed 101.1 points — second-best in the association.
Let’s no crucify Lillard for the “Blazers in six” comment. What do you expect him to say? “Warriors in five?” Of course not. But if you didn’t already know, Golden State is scary good and Portland will be no match. Aside from one fluke loss, the Dubs will advance in five games.
Pick: Warriors (-10,000)
Series outcome: Five games
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