Lean Trail Blazers +6.5 vs. Spurs for Game 1

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 1:42 PM GMT

Tuesday, May. 6, 2014 1:42 PM GMT

Both San Antonio and Portland survived huge challenges in the first round and now go head-to-head with a spot in the Western Conference Finals on the line. The Spurs have the home-court advantage and will come in favored for Game 1.

Odds Overview
Most sportsbooks have San Antonio favored by 6.5 points, but you can shop around and find a line of six at a few NBA betting sites. The Spurs are 46-43 ATS in both the regular season and playoffs combined, while the Trail Blazers are right there too at 46-42 ATS. 

The total for tonight is in the 205.5 to 206.5 range.


Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers came out in the first round meaning business, winning both Game 1 and 2 in Houston to take the early advantage. They lost Game 3 at home, but held their nerve and were able to close out the series in six games.

It was a highly entertaining series, but the best drama was saved for last. Damian Lillard hit a game-winning three as time expired in Game 6 to help Portland advance on to the next round.

Lillard was terrific throughout the entire series, averaging 25.5 PPG, 6.7 APG and 6.3 RPG in the six games. He shot 48.9 percent from three and was ice cold down the stretch for the Trail Blazers.

But he wasn't the only one. LaMarcus Aldridge tormented Houston throughout, putting up averages of 29.8 PPG and 11.2 RPG while also blocking 2.7 blocks per game. Dwight Howard and company had no answers for the big man – will Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter fare any better?

Portland's offensive efficiency, complete with great role play out of Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez, was on full display against the Rockets, but they're going to meet their match in San Antonio.


San Antonio Spurs
Not many predicted San Antonio would need the full seven games to overcome Dallas, but the Spurs had no answers defensively and that ended up killing them in the series.

However, the Spurs did save their best for last and had everything going their way in their huge 119-96 win in Game 7 at home. If San Antonio can match that performance on a consistent basis, no team's going to be able to stop them.

The Spurs got great balance, as usual, from their team in the first round. Five different players averaged in double figures, led by Tony Parker, who averaged 19.9 PPG and 4.7 APG. Manu Ginobili (17.7 PPG) was outstanding off the bench and Tim Duncan (17.3 PPG and 8.4 RPG) did his thing as well.

Those three embody what San Antonio is all about and will be at the heart of everything San Antonio here in the next round too.

But Gregg Popovich will know his team has to be better defensively if they want to make a true quest for the title.

[gameodds]5/286079/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Game 1 Pick
While we do agree with Jordan Sharp's assessment that the OVER could be a good play for tonight's game in San Antonio, we also feel like there's value in taking Portland as the underdog. 

The Trail Blazers saw how advantageous it was to come out swinging right at the start of the series and this is a team that has nothing to lose. They're playing with house money right now and can play without pressure against this veteran San Antonio group.

Gregg Popovich's team certainly had their issues dealing with Dallas' half-court offense and we expect similar success from Portland in this series. We're taking the points in the opening game and hoping for a great showing from the Trail Blazers.

Pick: Trail Blazers +6.5

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