Jordan’s NBA Picks: 67-51 (Playoffs 13-13)
Portland (57-31 SU & 48-40 ATS) at Denver (59-31 SU & 46-44 ATS)
Wednesday, 9:00 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: UNDER 1H
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
The Game 1 loss to the Nuggets may be a wakeup call for the Blazers. They had so much time off after running through the Thunder that they came out flat and out of sync against a better team coming off a Game 7. Can Portland drastically turn things around in Game 2?
If you take away their 18 turnovers and the fact that they gave up 121 points, the Blazers didn’t play that badly in Game 1. It makes perfect sense that they came out flat on the road, but it’s hard to see it happening that way again.
The Blazers didn’t turn the ball over that much in the regular season, ranking 12th-best in turnover rate. I could see their turnovers being cut in half if they play well.
That means a lot less possessions for the Nuggets to take advantage of. If we saw Portland’s floor defensively in Game 1, I think the under in the first half has a lot of value.
Portland will make sure to keep their offense tighter in the first half of this one. If they aren’t allowing Denver all those points off turnovers, the scoring in Game 2 could go way down. Both teams will still play with some defensive intensity, especially early and that makes this first half line kind of deceiving.
With the game total creeping upward, the first half total has stayed the same. That tells me an under play could be a hot ticket on Wednesday.
The Sharp Pick
So far through six playoff games this postseason, the Blazers are allowing just 104.3 points per 100 possessions and that includes the 58 points they gave up in the first half of Game 1. If they can return to that kind of effort on defense, they will surely be able to keep this first half a low scoring one.
Denver has not been great on defense in the first halves during their Spurs series, but that was mainly because of them faltering early in road games. In their five postseason home games, they are allowing only 103.8 points per 100 possessions in the first half.
So, with the first half total still sitting pretty, I’m stabbing at the under to try and fix this wretched losing streak I’ve been on over the last week.