Jordan’s NBA Picks: 75-55-1 (Playoffs 21-17-1)
Denver (61-33 SU & 49-45 ATS) at Portland (59-33 SU & 49-43 ATS)
Thursday, 10:30 PM EST, ESPN
Free NBA Pick: 1H Under
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
One of the keys to this series has been winning the first 24 minutes. Only once in five games has the team ahead at the half gone on to lose. Can we expect the same outcome Thursday and who has the better odds to cash in the first half?
If there was ever a time for Damian Lillard to put up a monster and/or game winning performance, it’s in Game 6. The Blazers have been through a lot this season and in my eyes if Jusuf Nurkic were healthy, the Blazers would have won this series by now.
However, that is not the case, so Lillard was been forced to carry the team while Nurkic and C.J. McCollum were hurt and I think Lillard will put them on his back tonight. McCollum is equally as capable of having a big game too, or in place of Lillard. McCollum is averaging 28.2 points per game at home during these playoffs.
The Sharp Pick
With several players in this game capable of putting up big first halves and the numbers that have been established over the course of this postseason and series, the first half total may have some value tonight.
However, while I would not be surprised to see a 20-point half from several players on either team, this is the kind of game where defense may be the key to winning it for both squads.
Defense has not been at a premium lately in the first halves of this series, as both teams have been shooting the ball pretty well in the first two quarters.
However, they have also been playing at a very slow pace in the first halves during this series and I think that continues tonight. If we see a pace of 92 or 93 possessions per 48 minutes in the first half, the under is a fine value.
We have already seen the total drop from 109 to 108 in the first half odds and while that does concern me a little bit, there is still value in these odds. In an elimination game, both teams will be throwing everything they have at one another and I think if the defense intensifies with the pace still slow, there will not be much scoring in the first half of this one.