NBA Picks: Bet Blazers to Cover Against Raptors

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 3:51 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 3:51 PM GMT

This should be a terrific matchup between two of the best teams in the NBA this season and one that NBA basketball handicappers will be watching intently to see how they fair against the betting odds.

Toronto is halfway done with their long road trip and is 24-7 and 19-12 ATS and has been a favorite of many making sports picks versus the NBA odds this season.

Portland is running in the same stratosphere at 25-7 and 19-12-1 ATS and has been brilliant at home as you can read below. How will game break down, let’s figure it out.

 

These Raptors are from Prehistoric
Since becoming members of the NBA in 1995, Toronto has won their division three times and been to the playoffs on seven occasions, advancing one time.

After their fine start this year, when All-Star DeMar DeRozan went down with an injury for an extended period, it was thought he might take his teammates with him and the Raptors would become as relevant as dinosaurs. But thanks to point guard Kyle Lowry (26.2 points, 7.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game), Toronto did not fade, instead they are flourishing, with an 11-3 (9-5 ATS) record this month.

Coach Dwane Casey has a roster full of interchangeable parts which allows him to create mismatches or go to the hot hand on a given night. With Lou Williams (19.4 PPG), he has a trio of shooting guards who can play the point when backup Greivis Vasquez has an off-night and let Lowry create havoc off the ball.

When making NBA picks, having not only the No.2 team in scoring is a plus on the road, but also being the best is offensive efficiency (points per 100  possessions) is a huge benefit.  

 

Portland is Blazing a Trail
As good as Toronto has played, Portland has been even better at 13-3 since Nov.30 and has really turned up the heat to grab the attentions of basketball bettors and sportsbooks alike.

The Trail Blazers are a smoldering 8-1 and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games and the average margin of victory has been 14.1 points a night. The difference between this team and recent quality Portland teams of the past is their commitment to defense.

Portland has enough offense currently, with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge (22.9 PPG), Damian Lillard (21.8) and Wesley Mathews (16.8), but this year’s team has bought into Terry Stotts defensive wishes. The Blazers are tops in – effective field goal percentage defense – and third in 2-point shot defense.

 

Betting Odds and Head to Head
Though Aldridge is still an uncertainty, Portland has been listed as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 207.

Portland has won six in a row at home (5-1 ATS) in this series.

 

Scheduling
Toronto continues their six-game road trip at Golden State on Friday and Phoenix on Sunday, before heading home to open a six-game homestand in which they will be favored in each contests, sometimes sizably. The Raptors are 13-4 and 9-8 ATS with a day off, winning by 9.3 points a contest.

Portland’s homestand continues and they are 14-2 and 10-5-1 ATS at the Moda Center, winning by an enormous 11.1 points a contest. The Blazers will be off until Saturday when Atlanta visits followed next by the L.A. Lakers. Portland is 14-6 and 10-9-1 ATS with a day between games.

 

The Choice
I have always been a big believer of if a team knows how to beat another it is not up to me to figure out when the squad that loses consistently will start turning the tide and winning themselves.

With Portland’s track record at home in this series, I throw my support towards them.

NBA Basketball Free PickPortland covers at 5Dimes

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