Trail Blazers Still The Right Pick Friday Against Raptors

Thursday, February 28, 2019 11:29 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 11:29 PM UTC

The Portland Trail Blazers have beaten the NBA odds five times in a row. Can they make it six in The 6 when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday night on ESPN?

<p style="text-align:right"><strong><em>Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Feb. 27:<br />15-12-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 18-8 Totals</em></strong></p><h2 style="text-align:center">Portland (38-23 SU, 35-26 ATS) at Toronto (45-17 SU, 27-35 ATS)</h2><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Friday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)<br />Free NBA Pick: Trail Blazers ATS<br />Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=Pinnacle" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Pinnacle</a></strong></p><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3569903, "sportsbooksIds":[238,1096,169,1275,19], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>Hats off to the Portland Trail Blazers. They’ve quietly put together one of the best records in the NBA, and they’re on a big-time roll right now at 5-0 SU and ATS, including each of the first four games on their current road swing. <a href="">Portland got us paid</a> on Wednesday when they beat the Boston Celtics 97-92 as 2.5-point road dogs. What can they do for an encore?<br /><br />Getting the cover <a href="" title="Live Game Odds">Friday against the Toronto Raptors</a> would be nice. The Raptors are chock-full of talent, but do they really care about these regular-season games? Nooooooo. At any time, Toronto might decide to give Kawhi Leonard the day off, even if it’s not a back-to-back situation, so that instantly makes Portland worth a shot as 5-point puppies on the <a href="" title="Live NBA Odds">NBA odds board</a>.</p><p> </p><h2>The Spanish Inquisition</h2><p>This is actually a pretty good time to fade Toronto in general. They have a lot of new players to integrate into the lineup; Marc Gasol (plus-2.8 BPM in six games), and Jeremy Lin (minus-4.6 BPM in four games) have yet to reach the performance standards they set earlier in the season, and Gasol’s value to the Raptors is capped somewhat by the platoon they’re using at center with Gasol and Serge Ibaka (plus-0.8 BPM).<br /><br />Not that we’re criticizing the Raps here. The “tag team” concept worked wonders for both Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas (plus-1.3 BPM in Toronto) before the latter went to Memphis in the Gasol deal. And Gasol is clearly benefiting Toronto’s bench mob with his passing skills. But from a betting perspective, people might not realize how Gasol’s minutes are being limited. Also, the Raptors bench is missing Fred VanVleet (0.0 BPM), and that bench is already thinner after the wheeling and dealing at the deadline.</p><p> </p><h2>Moe Minutes</h2><p>Then you have the Blazers, who are very much an extension of point guard Damian Lillard (plus-6.3 OBPM, minus-1.0 DBPM). They have one of the better offenses in the NBA, with a mediocre defense to match, but Portland mitigates that weakness somewhat by operating at a medium pace, reducing the number of possessions per game. Will this model win them a championship? Maybe not, but they’re definitely worth a flyer at +10000.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Blazers Injury Report vs. Raptors: &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Evan Turner (left knee) is out and Enes Kanter is not with team for Friday's game at Toronto.&lt;/p&gt;— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;February 28, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>They’re also worth putting in our <a href="" title="Free NBA Picks">NBA picks</a>. It’s almost a free roll situation, given Toronto’s propensity to make Leonard (plus-5.3 BPM) a late scratch for maintenance purposes. We can also confirm that Evan Turner (minus-2.0 BPM) won’t be playing this game for Portland, which also means more minutes for Moe Harkless (plus-1.2 BPM), one of their best defensive players. We’ll buy that for a loonie.</p>
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