Free NBA Picks: Healthier Trail Blazers +1 Our NBA Pick vs. Raptors

Thursday, February 4, 2016 12:31 AM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 12:31 AM UTC

The Toronto Raptors have been a strong NBA pick this year, but injuries have taken away some of their bite going into Thursday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

<p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2883208, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p> <p><strong>Free NBA Pick:</strong> Trail Blazers +1<br /> <strong>Best Line Offered:</strong> at <a href=";book=inarticlepinnacle" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Place your bets at Pinnacle">Pinnacle</a></p> <p><em><strong>Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 2:</strong></em><em> 17-21-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total</em></p> <p> </p> <p>You have to stay on your toes when you're making <a href="" target="_blank" title="Click here for more NBA picks">NBA picks</a>. Teams get hot and cold all the time – case in point, the Toronto Raptors (33-16 SU, 27-22 ATS) and the Portland Trail Blazers (24-26 SU, 27-23 ATS). They've both been profitable this year, but the Raptors have dropped the cash in four straight games, while the Trail Blazers are on a big-time roll at 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS in their last 11.</p> <p>As always, some of this is just dumb luck, and past performance does not guarantee future results. But we're giving Portland a shot in Thursday's matchup (10:00 p.m. ET) at the Moda Center. We might not be the only ones; the Blazers have already moved up from +1.5 to –1 at some of the books on our <a href="" target="_blank" title="Live NBA odds board">NBA odds</a> board.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Rookie</strong><br /> So <a href="" target="_blank" title="Revisit our NBA pick for the Raptors vs. Suns game">we whiffed on the Raptors</a> in Tuesday's road game against the Phoenix Suns. Toronto wasn't in much danger as a 9-point favorite, but as is too often the case, the Raps failed to pull away in an eventual 104-97 victory. One important development: Rookie SG Norman Powell (3.3 PER, –6.6 BPM) ended up starting and playing 15 minutes, scoring zero points on 0-of-3 shooting. Will he get another chance on Thursday? Tune in for tomorrow's shootaround to find out.</p> <p>We do know that SF James Johnson (13.1 PER, +0.4 BPM) is highly unlikely to play after he sprained his left ankle on Monday. And SF DeMarre Carroll (11.5 PER, –0.1 BPM) is still at least a week or two away after having his knee scoped. We assumed SF Terrence Ross (12.7 PER, +0.4 BPM) would be soaking up more of those minutes against Phoenix, and we assumed incorrectly. Toronto's options are somewhat limited, though. Developing Powell and protecting Ross both have their merits.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Special Ed</strong><br /> Meanwhile, out West, the Blazers might have to do without PF Noah Vonleh (9.6 PER, –2.7 BPM) on Thursday after he sprained his left ankle in Tuesday's 107-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks (+7 away). But this could be a short-term boost for Portland. Vonleh is very much a work in progress, while back-up Ed Davis (18.7 PER, +3.0 BPM) is one of the league's perennially underrated bigs.</p> <p>The media focus, of course, will be on Portland's backcourt. PG Damian Lillard (21.6 PER, +3.6 BPM) and SG C.J. McCollum (18.1 PER, +0.7 BPM) have formed a very nice duo, at least on the offensive end. They get defensive support from their glue guy, SF Al-Farouq Aminu (12.5 PER, –0.5 BPM), who's developing into a quality 3-and-D player – exactly what the Raptors need themselves right now. We'll take the healthier and hotter team at home, and may the sphere be with you.</p>
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