Portland Earning Fat Profits For Money Line Players
by Harry Brewer - 12/19/2007
The Portland Trailblazers have won and covered every game since their last lost on Dec. 2 to the San Antonio Spurs. This is now the hottest team in the league. The question to be asked is whether they are for real or if they are just playing above their heads on this current winning streak.
While many are imagining the presence of injured Greg Oden in the middle, the Blazers are playing in the here and now. I, like many of my colleagues, are wondering how I missed most of this profitable ride. Plenty of handicappers have taken them as home dogs as a matter of value (they are 13-7 against the spread this season as a dog heading into tonight's game against Toronto). I am sure they turned a nice profit. However, to make quick money when betting the NBA you need to pick some undervalued dogs on the money line. Portland has only been a favorite once during their current streak, so bettors employing this strategy have enjoyed a windfall of profits.
Meanwhile, Portland has gone from 5-12 to 13-12. Streaks in the Western Conference are not uncommon. The Spurs, Suns, and Mavs have done it every year for the last three seasons. But the Blazers are not normally mentioned in the same sentence as those teams. During their current streak they notched wins against possible playoff teams like New Orleans, Denver, Utah and Golden State. There is no claiming that they beat up on cream puffs in the West.
Currently 1.5 games out of first behind Denver and Utah in the Northwest Division, they are in a position to play for more than pride this year. Keep in mind that I simply do not care what they do in their division or if they keep winning. I just care if they keep covering.
They have nine players averaging double-digit minutes per game. That statistic is huge in the world of betting. The spreading of the minutes keeps fatigue and injury at a minimum. No player on this team averages more than 20 points per game. This means there is no simple answer to the question of who to stop in order to beat them.
Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge are the scoring leaders but any member of the team is quite capable. Steve Blake and Jarrett Jack, along with Roy, are pumping in assists, as Joel Przybilla and Travis Outlaw are helping Aldridge sweep the glass.
Although they have a balanced attack, they are not lighting up the scoreboard on a nightly basis. They are ranked No. 20 in the league in points per game scoring. Yes, 20. They are dead last in NBA rebounding. Yes, last. And they are No. 16 in assists! They also allow two more points per game than they score. However, they have good field goal and three point percentages and they take care of the ball fairly well, but those stats don't explain their current success. I do not know what the heck they do right other than cover. Did I mention that is all I care about?
Alert! Their next five games are at home against Toronto, Denver, Seattle, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. They are 10-3 at home this year and playing well at Rose Garden Arena so you will have to look hard at the line. Judging by their team statistics I think they should remain a bargain as they are obviously undervalued by everyone. The public will lay off of them because there is a lack of "star power", and the pros may not see a statistic worth their money when handicapping this team.
Portland looks poised to complete a very good December. Check in with Doc's NBA Odds, Handicapping Matchup Reports, and Advisory Board Selections to keep a close eye on the Trailblazers.