Lay the Points with Warriors in West Series Opener vs. Trail Blazers

warriors blazers

Jay Pryce

Friday, April 14, 2017 4:50 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 14, 2017 4:50 PM GMT

The Western Conference's 1-8 playoff matchup sees two of the NBA's hottest teams clash when the Warriors host the Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET). Golden State has dominated Portland in recent years and is a big favorite to win Game 1.

The Golden State Warriors didn’t match their record-breaking 73-win campaign of last season with 67 victories in 2016-17, but there is an argument to be made this year’s squad is better. The Dubs' 11.63-point average margin of victory is the fourth-highest in league history, nearly a point better than last season (10.76) and best since the 1996 Chicago Bulls (12.24). They missed tying or breaking the record because of some bad luck. Two of Golden State’s 15 losses were by one point, and three separate contests went to overtime.

The Warriors whipped the Trail Blazers 4-1 in the second round of last year’s playoffs and are 14-2 SU and 11-5 ATS against Portland since Steph Curry and Co. came alive in 2014. The average line in the matchup is -8.7 points. When the spread is higher, Golden State is 7-2 ATS, beating the number by 5.1 points per game. Oddsmakers opened the Warriors 14.5-point favorites for Sunday with early adjustments going the home team's way.

The Trail Blazers finished the regular season one of the hottest teams in the NBA with a 14-6 SU record in their final 20 games. Bettors backing this run against the spread made a mint, too, with Portland also going 14-6 vs. the number. Will the hot hand translate to a cover or outright victory in Game 1? Doubtful. The gap in point differential between the two in their last 20 games is the second-lowest in the last three years at 5.4 points in favor of Golden State. The Warriors, however, are 7-1 ATS when this gap is less than 10 points with the market less inflated. Moreover, Portland has won only three games in Oakland dating back to April 2005.

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have done little to threaten the Warriors over the years. Newcomer Jusuf Nurkic could present a different look at center, but he’s not 100 percent healthy, and may miss the first couple of games in the series. Would it matter anyway? Warriors head coach Steve Kerr makes it a point to punish big post players, forcing them to defend a barrage of pick-and-rolls.

The Warriors win Game 1 easily on their way to a 4-0 series sweep.

Free NBA Pick: Warriors -14.5Best Line Offered: Intertops

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