NBA Pick: Portland Trail Blazers +7½ over Atlanta Hawks

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, March 22, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

The Blazers are trying to make a late playoff push, they looked very impressive in a big road win at Chicago last night and they are seeking revenge for an earlier home loss to the Hawks.

In a battle of two surging teams, the seemingly undervalued road team with possibly more to gain looks to hold value Friday night when those Portland Trail Blazers (32-36, 10-25 away) pay a visit to the Atlanta Hawks (38-30, 22-12 home) at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA at 7:35 ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Portland as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +7½ with odds of -107.

The Trail Blazers kept their playoff hopes alive by impressively going on the road on Thursday and beating the Chicago Bulls 99-89 in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score, as Portland led by 27 points entering the fourth quarter and relaxed a bit, with the final 10-point margin being the closest that Chicago would come.

Now admittedly the Blazers have had issues on the road this season as the win in the Windy City leaves them at just 10-25 away from the Rose Garden, but apparently Portland is serious about its late season playoff push that now has it 3½ games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 14 games to go.

The Blazers still have some work to do, but last night’s effort and an almost inexplicable 136-106 blowout of the Spurs in San Antonio recently show what Portland is capable of if it can only gain some consistency on the road. One thing that has been consistent throughout the year and regardless of the venue has been the play of Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard, who added another 24 points last night and is averaging 19.0 points and 6.6 assists.

With Lillard running the point and leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (21.2 points per game) being a force inside, there is really no reason why the improvement the Blazers are showing on the road cannot continue with the ultimate goal of making the playoffs still within their reach.

Playoff aspirations aside, this is also a revenge spot for Portland, which lost at home to these Hawks 95-87 way back on November 12th when the Blazers blew a late lead by allowing Atlanta to score the final 10 points of the game.

Now, the Hawks are also playing well right now as they have gone 4-1 both straight up and ATS in their last five games. It is noteworthy though that the lone loss in this stretch came here at home vs. another Western Conference team trying to get back in the playoff hunt as the Dallas Mavericks routed Atlanta 127-113 on Monday while shooting 57.3 percent from the field.

Also Atlanta is currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, sitting just two games behind the fourth place Brooklyn Nets and 1½ games ahead of the Bulls and the Boston Celtics, who are tied for sixth.

Now obviously finishing in fourth place would give the Hawks home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but Conspiracy Theorists may argue that it could be more beneficial for the Hawks to finish sixth, so as to avoid a potential matchup with the Miami Heat in the second round.

Regardless of which side of the fence Atlanta sits on there, the Hawks are securely in the playoffs nonetheless while the Blazers are still fighting to get in, so take the points with Portland on Friday.

[gameodds]5/222249/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Trail Blazers +7½ (-107)