Blazers’ Defense Makes For A Strong First Half Wager

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 5:52 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019 5:52 PM UTC

The Blazers have been outstanding at home this season and with the tanking Mavericks coming to town on Wednesday, will Portland mop the floor with Dallas, or will the Mavs come to play in this late-night showdown?

Jordan’s NBA Picks: 40-23

Dallas (28-42 SU & 39-30 ATS) at Portland (43-27 & 40-30 ATS)

Wednesday, 10:00 PM EST
Free NBA Pick: Blazers 1H ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Blazers are a little banged up with C.J. McCollum still on the shelf. It didn’t stop them from covering against the Pacers on Monday night and I doubt it prevents them from coming away with a SU win on Wednesday.

Blazers’ First Half Dominance Will Continue

We cashed a play on Portland two nights ago on the full game spread against the Pacers and while I’m tempted to lay the chalk with the Blazers once again, the prowess of Luka Doncic and the injury to McCollum are keeping me from diving into that pool tonight.

However, the first half spread is another story. Portland has been extremely good at home, but they have been even better in the first halves of their home games. So far this season they are averaging 118.3 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of their 35 home games this season.

Not only are they scoring the ball with great efficiency at home in the first half, they are playing better defense as well. The Blazers give up a defensive rating of just 105.9 in the first half of their home games. This ranks them in the top 10 in the league in that category and second overall in first half home offense.

The Mavs on the other hand are more than likely going to lay an egg at the beginning of this one. Maurice Harkless is no slouch defensively and he will be riding Doncic from the start of this one. If Doncic isn’t hitting shots in the early going, I could see Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard taking over in their own very good matchups.

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The #Blazers have a NRtg of +9.9 when Jusuf Nurkic is on the floor. That's the best NRtg by any Blazers team with any player on the floor since at least 2000-01, the first year we have that data https://t.co/qnRW1DUibQ pic.twitter.com/A8S78qJGa4

— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) 19 de março de 2019
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The Sharp Pick

The loss of McCollum for the next few games is going to be noticeable against better teams. McCollum takes a ton of pressure off Lillard and he allows Nurkic to focus on defense and the pick and roll.

Without McCollum in the lineup coming off screens and taking some ball handling duties, the Blazers’ offense flows a lot easier. However, without him, Lillard and Nurkic will be running a ton of pick and roll and the big man should even see some post ups against the softer Mavs interior defense.

That could slow down the pace and score in this one, but in the end, it favors the Blazers at home, especially in the first half. Even if the Mavs hit some shots, they should still be eight to 10 points down at the half.

First Half Score Prediction: Mavs 52– Blazers 59

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