This could have been a really fun way to reintroduce these two teams after the All-Star Break. It legitimately had all the makings of a must-watch game of basketball. Portland comes into tonight’s meeting with New Orleans owning the NBA’s second-best offensive rating across its past 10 contests (116.5), while the Pelicans are 9-6 in their last 15, hoping to claw their way back into the race for the Western Conference’s eighth-seed. It could have been Zion Williamson versus Damian Lillard, however, a groin issue will keep the latter watching from the sideline on Friday. It’s a missed opportunity to be sure. Alas.
Here are some betting trends for this evening’s tilt between the Pelicans and Blazers, as provided by DraftKings Sportsbook:
It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the public’s overall hesitation to back to Portland in this spot. I mean, it’s almost hard to overstate how crucial Lillard has been to his squad’s success so far in 2019-20. In fact, while the Blazers have outscored opponents by 1.1 points per 100 possessions with their All-Star on the court so far this season, they’ve been bested by a whopping 9.5 points per 100 possessions with Lillard on the bench. It’s simply hard to construct an argument in favor of Portland on this slate.
I feel a similar way about the total. Usually, 238.5 wouldn’t be all that big an obstacle in a game featuring two high-octane offensive attacks, yet the Blazers’ 105.0 offensive rating with Lillard sidelined has me worried; as does New Orleans rank as the NBA’s seventh most stout defense dating back to Jan. 24 (109.5). Give me the UNDER.
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