Old vs. New Guard
Could this series start a changing of the guard in the Western Conference that no one saw coming? I think it could, and even though I am not sold on the Spurs in this game or this series, the NBA Odds have them as solid favorites in both. San Antonio is a -6 ½ home favorite against Portland in Game 1 Tuesday night, with a total of 205 ½. Even though I do think the Blazers could have some value as dogs ATS, the better and probably safer NBA pick on Game 1 is the total of 205 ½.
During their regular season series against one another, these two teams split both SU, ATS, and in the total. However, the Blazers were not a complete team for at least one of their meetings with the Spurs due to LaMarcus Aldridge’s injury, and during that time, the Blazers kind of fell out of relevancy.
However, this team is playing like the team that beat San Antonio two straight to start the regular season series, and if they can hold down the Spurs enough to steal one of the next two games, this team could have a ton of series value.
Alas we are talking about Tuesday night, and even though I am very tempted (nor would I fault anyone) to take points with the Blazers at +6 ½, the total of 205 ½ is way too low for these two teams. I don’t think either are a great matchup for one another, and especially early in the series, I think that will lead to some higher scores.
The Blazers have not been known as a defensive team this season, especially when playing on the road. Even though the regular season total series split, I think one or both of these first two games in San Antonio will go 'over'.
The Sharp Pick
The 'over' has now cashed in five of the last six games for the Spurs dating back to Game 2 against Dallas, while the Blazers have also been on an 'over' cashing streak, going 'over' in seven of their last nine dating back to the regular season.
Even though both games in San Antonio went 'under' the total, I think that could be one of the reasons why this total of 205 ½ is so low. The Spurs should be a little bit tired coming off of their grueling first round series, and I think the Blazers might be able to exploit that on the road. Portland is good on offense in the exact areas that San Antonio is, and if they can wear down the Spurs’ stars, it might go a long way for them.
But the wearing down is going to be mutual for this series. Whoever has the most stamina and big shot making will win this series, and it’s going to start with a big scoring effort from both clubs in Game 1. Take the 'over'.
My NBA Pick: 'over' 205 ½