Ample Firepower in Trail Blazers/Celtics Means Pick 'Over'

Doug Upstone

Sunday, November 23, 2014 1:49 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014 1:49 PM UTC

When actively studying the NBA odds, situational handicapping is relevant almost every day and often supersedes the talent teams have to offer. (Unless we are talking about the Philadelphia Sixers.)

What basketball handicappers and those pouring the NBA betting odds are seeking is edges, little intangibles that can be the difference between winning and losing a sports pick. In this West versus East matchup, Portland concluded a three-game homestand Friday and will be playing three games in four days on the East Coast before returning home. Boston on the other hand is back in Bean-Town after splitting games with Memphis and hapless Philadelphia.


What will each squad bring to this contest?
Portland Start Familiar The Trail Blazers are 9-3 SU and ATS and should be among the most popular teams for NBA picks in the first part of the season. Portland is on a six- game winning streak (5-1 ATS), but not everyone is board with their long term projections. Last season the Blazers were 13-3 and 11-5 ATS at the end of November, but by the start of 2014, the cracks were formulating and while Portland had a very good season, they were easily dismissed by San Antonio in the playoffs. Coach Terry Stotts knew his team had more than enough offense, but has asked his club for a greater defensive commitment and thus far they are holding opponents to a much improved eight fewer points a contest (95.2 vs. 103.2). This is especially true when opposing players drives to the basket, as last year’s matador approach has been replaced by more help collectively in sagging, while not leaving shooters unattended. Nonetheless, the bench still appears thin and an injury to any starter changes this team’s assets considerably.


Boston Still Deciding On Who to Play
The Celtics are 4-7 and 5-6 ATS and still searching for answers. The Celtics do not suffer from a lack of scoring; having a Top 5 offense which is at 106.2 points a game and they work the ball to get good looks, shooting 48 percent from the field. What hurts Boston is a lack of defensive commitment, surrendering 108.4 points a contest and equally inept defending opponents attempts, giving up 47.9 percent overall and 40.3 percent in three-point bombs. Coach Brad Stevens is an analytics guy and he knows when Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger are on the floor together, the offense will have more punch, but they his team will suffer on the other end of the floor, because frankly Olynyk is a liability.

Stevens has and will use Tyler Zeller to sub for Olynyk and almost immediately the defense improves (almost five points per 100 possessions), however, the offense drops nearly three points. When Jeff Green goes to power forward, all facets suffer and because the ball tends to “stick” in Brandon Bass’s hands when he’s on the floor, the offense will stagnate and his defense is charitably average.
Coach Stevens has to keep trying to find the right combinations and hope something clicks.


Betting Odds and Head to Head
Sportsbooks have Portland as a 5.5-point road favorite with a total of 212. The Trail Blazers are only 1-4 (3-2 ATS) when visiting the C’s. Scheduling As mentioned above, Portland plays three times in four days, however, tomorrow night’s game is more a workout than an actual game at Philadelphia. The Blazers return to action Wednesday at Charlotte and return home to face Memphis Friday.

The NBA schedule-maker said “Happy Thanksgiving” to the Celtics, who after this contest are off until this Friday when Chicago visits, followed by an Sunday session with San Antonio.


The Choice
Both teams have ample firepower and I believe the pace will be fast. Because of this points will not an issue and Portland is 11-1 OVER after four or more consecutive victories. Also, the Blazers are fourth in the NBA in three-point shooting defense field goal percentage (30.5%) and they are 7-0 ATS versus teams who attempt 18 or more 3-point shots a game on the season.

Free NBA Pick: Portland -5.5 and Over at 5Dimes

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