Portland Trailblazers (+270) vs.
San Antonio Spurs (-320)
The Blazers entered themselves into the title discussion earlier in the season, but a drop-off in the dog days of the season, along with the injury to LaMarcus Aldridge a few months ago removed them from the conversation. However after their stellar finish to the regular season, and with how easily they beat the Rockets, the Blazers are looking really good again.
However their opponent will not be easy here, and despite them splitting their season series against one another 2-2, this series might surprise some people. The Blazers are still not a great matchup for the Spurs, and they have had some success against them in the recent past.
Portland beat the Spurs the first two games they played one another this regular season, and not only did they beat them, they beat them pretty soundly. The battles between Aldridge and Tim Duncan, along with the battle between the point guards of this series are going to be a wash at best, and maybe even give the Blazers an advantage.
Portland has the luxury of being good in the same positions the Spurs are. With rest and youth could come an upset, and with the NBA Odds not giving the Blazers any chance, I think that makes this play even more valuable.
The Sharp Pick
Portland is back to playing like the team we thought had a chance at winning the West, and despite not having home court advantage in this series, they still will give the Spurs just as tough of a series as the Mavs did. Dallas capitalized the Spurs some by playing fast and getting up a ton of shots to try and wear down San Antonio’s defense.
Portland not only has more shot-makers than the Mavs, they have the better super star in Aldridge. His offense and defense against Duncan will be the difference in this series, and with the size and youthful advantage Aldridge has, I can’t really see Duncan slowing him down. One thing that has been very evident in these playoffs has been the Spurs’ defense. They can still bring it out when needed, but it isn’t highlighted by excellent individual defense.
Duncan is not at the point in his career where he is going to shut down Aldridge, and on the other side of things, I don’t know if Duncan can score as easily as he did against Dallas, now facing the Blazers. The defense from Tony Parker likely won’t be enough to slow down Damian Lillard much either.
All in all, this is a bad matchup for the Spurs and with the NBA Odds overvaluing them a lot for this series price, the Blazers NBA Odds of +270 are far too good to ignore in your NBA picks. The Blazers are deep enough to stay with the Spurs, and I could easily see them winning this series in six or seven games.
My NBA Series Pick: Blazers +270