NBA Expert Picks - Despite Recent Struggles Portland Hangs Tough With L.A.

Charles Stark

Monday, December 12, 2016 2:05 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 2:05 PM UTC

The Trail Blazers have lost their last three games in a row and tonight things will get easier as they visit the Los Angeles Clippers. Oddsmakers have made Chris Paul and company almost a double-digit favorite but can Damian Lillard keep Portland in this contest?

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland has lost both of their contests to Los Angeles this season and is currently on a three-game slide. At 12-13 they are quite a bit off the pace of where they ended up last season but there is still time for them to turn this year around. Offensively there's been no problem as Portland is averaging 109.2 points per game which rank them sixth in the NBA and across the board their shooting percentages are solid. Currently the rank eighth in both effective field-goal percentage and shooting efficiency as well as sixth in field goals made per game. 

The issue is been on the other side the ball was Portland is allowing opponents 111.7 points per game which rank them third to last in the NBA. Statistically, they simply have not been good as they allow opponents to shoot 45.8% overall and 37.1% from distance ranking them 23rd and 26th in the league respectively. All that being said though this is still a talented Portland team and I expect for them to play some inspired basketball tonight. Look for them to keep this game a lot closer than most people anticipate.


Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles is averaging 109.3 points per game while allowing opponents just 100 points which ranks them fifth and sixth in the NBA respectively. Chris Paul is coming off one of the greatest NBA games of all time and this a Clippers team that is rolling right along currently sitting at 17-7. They haven't had much trouble with Portland this season and they have stepped things up on the defensive end. One issue though for them tonight will be their lack of defending from beyond the arc as they are allowing opponents to shoot 35.6% from distance which ranks them 18th in the league. 

This could prove troublesome against a Portland team that shoots 36.7% at range which ranks seventh. As well, Los Angeles likes to get up and down the floor at times which is more accustomed to Portland's type of pace. In the end, the Clippers should be favored in this spot, but odds makers are simply giving them too many points which I believe puts a value on backing a Portland team looking to get back on track.


Portland Trail Blazers vs L.A. Clippers 

Oddsmakers have Portland as a +9.5 underdog across the board. For my NBA pick, I'm going to back Portland plus the points as I look for them to keep this game surprisingly close. Good value on backing a really good three-point shooting team.


Free NBA Pick: Portland Trail Blazers +9.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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