Free NBA Picks: 76ers at Trail Blazers Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/3/2014
Portland's Damian Lillard was the runaway Rookie of the Year winner in the NBA last season, and it looks like the guy he will undoubtedly be checking most of Saturday night, Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams, will be the same in 2014. The ex-Syracuse point guard lasted until the 11th overall pick because while he had tremendous size at 6-foot-6, was a deft passer and good defensive player, he simply couldn't shoot. He's still not great from the field at .406, including .300 from long range. But both those numbers have to better than what Philly could have expected in this major rebuilding year. MCW has been dogged by injury/infection this year. He has missed 11 games. The Sixers are 1-10 in them. He's back now.
Portland, meanwhile, appears to show no signs of not being a Western Conference contender as they have the West's best record by a half-game over Oklahoma City entering Friday's action. The Blazers lead the NBA in scoring and are Top 3 in rebounds and assists. Defensively, they still leave something to be desired, allowing 102.6 ppg (26th in the NBA). I'm still not sold.
These teams met in Philadelphia on Dec. 14, and Portland won in a 139-105 shellacking and the most points scored by a team this season. It was the second-largest margin of victory ever by the Blazers over Philly. It was actually just a seven-point lead at the half, but the Blazers outscored the Sixers 40-15 in the third quarter. Portland shot 71.4 percent in the quarter and Philadelphia 18.2 percent. LaMarcus Aldridge dominated with 20 points and 16 rebounds, and the Blazers set a franchise record by hitting 21 3-pointers (on 37 attempts), two shy of tying the NBA mark. Eight Blazers scored in double figures, and they easily could have hit 150 or more but yanked the starters and empted the bench. No starter played more than Aldridge's 29 minutes. Carter-Williams missed that game.
76ers at Blazers Betting Story Lines
The Sixers are an awful road team and started this current six-game trip with double-digit losses in Milwaukee and Phoenix. However, then they beat the Lakers on Sunday to end a 13-game road skid, followed it with a 114-102 win in Denver on Wednesday and then took the second of a back-to-back Thursday in Sacramento. Philly has made no desire of its attempts to tank this season and also holds the Pelicans' protected first-round pick in the loaded 2014 draft. The 76ers have two very tradable assets in forwards Evan Turner (19.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4.2 apg) and Thaddeus young (17.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg). Both guys have been linked to Cleveland in deals.
Turner missed a game last Saturday with a knee injury but is averaging 23 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the past three. Those are almost LeBron James numbers. Turner can become a restricted free agent after the season. Has he gotten this much better or is he just putting up numbers on a bad team? Young, meanwhile, is averaging 26.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in the past five, shooting .516 from the field. He makes a fairly modest $8.6 million and has two years left on his deal.
What has made Portland even more impressive offensively is it hasn't gotten a minute out of 2013 first-round pick C.J. McCollum yet. The No. 10 overall selection was a scoring machine at Lehigh but re-broke his left foot that cut his senior year short. He's currently in the D-League to complete his rehab and could debut with the Blazers on Tuesday. He'll be a backup swing guard but behind Mo Williams off the bench.
The Blazers exploded for 134 points in Thursday's 30-point home win over Charlotte. They made another 21 3-pointers to tie the mark set in that first Philly game. The starting five was an obscene 14-of-16 from long range, with Lillard tying a franchise mark by going 6-for-6. Portland is the only team this season with two games of at least 20 3-pointers. The Blazers have made at least eight 3-pointers in eight consecutive games for the first time in team history.
76ers at Blazers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Portland is a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 221. Philadelphia is 14-18 ATS (8-9 on road) and 20-11-1 “over/under” (10-6-1 on road). Portland is 20-13 ATS (9-7 at home) and 25-8 O/U (13-3 at home). The Sixers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven playing on one day of rest. They are 0-4 ATS in their past four Saturday games. The Blazers are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 against teams with a losing record. They are 1-5 ATS in their past six after a win. The over is 7-1-1 in Philly's past nine Saturday games. The over is 13-3 in Portland's last 16 following an ATS win. The over is 4-1 in the past five in Portland. The Sixers are 0-3-2 ATS in the past five meetings.
Free NBA Picks: 76ers at Blazers Betting Prediction
Philly has lost its past three in Portland, and I see no way it's not four. Portland's lopsided victory over Charlotte continued its dominance against lousy opponents. The Blazers have faced 18 teams that currently have losing records and own a 17-1 record. The only team with a losing mark to beat Portland is New Orleans, and that was Monday on a Tyreke Evans jumper with 1.2 seconds left. I've said it before and will again: Always bet against a team at the end of a long trip. They are tired and can see that light at the end of the tunnel, which generally means a less-than-inspired effort. That said, 13.5 points is too many. So take the Sixers and the over.
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