NBA Picks: Nets to Cover Against Short-Handed Blazers

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 6, 2015 12:51 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 6, 2015 12:51 PM GMT

Just one game on the NBA schedule Monday night opposite the NCAA Championship Game as apparently Portland and Brooklyn didn't get the memo. The Nets are 7-point favorites on BetOnline NBA odds with a total of 202.

Portland Resting 3 Key Guys
The Trail Blazers (50-26) already have won the Northwest Division but still have the goal of finishing as high as second in the Western Conference. Currently they are fourth, 1.5 games behind No. 3 Memphis and 2.5 behind No. 2 Houston. As a division winner, Portland can finish no lower than fourth in the West so it's guaranteed home-court advantage for at least a first-round playoff series.

Portland enters this game on a two-game winning streak, having won at the Lakers by 30 on Friday and then beating visiting New Orleans 99-90 on Saturday. LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Kaman added 16 points and 11 rebounds against the Pelicans.

This is a weird cross-country one-game road trip because the Blazers' game in Brooklyn originally was scheduled for Jan. 26 but postponed because of a blizzard that hit the New York City area. So because of that unusual schedule, it appears the Blazers are almost punting on this game. Aldridge, starting forward Nicolas Batum and Kaman all stayed back in the Pacific Northwest. C.J. McCollum is likely to start for Batum and Meyers Leonard for Aldridge. The Blazers recently lost reserve Dorell Wright to a left hand fracture and of course they don't have starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews for the rest of the season due to a torn Achilles' tendon.

The Blazers are 39-36-1 against the NBA betting spread this season and 36-39-1 'over/under.'

Here's another capper's take on tonight's Blazers vs. Nets matchup

Brooklyn Fighting for Playoff Spot
The Nets (35-41) are currently seventh in the East, 2.5 games behind No. 6 Milwaukee and a half game ahead of No. 8 Boston. Indiana, Miami and Charlotte are still threats to win one of those two final playoff spots as well. Pretty sure those teams can't be happy right now that Portland is leaving three of its better players at home.

Brooklyn's season-high six-game winning streak ended Saturday in ugly fashion, 131-99 in Atlanta in a potential first-round playoff preview. The Nets "allowed" the Hawks to hit 17 of 33 3-pointers. To be fair it was the second of a back-to-back from Brooklyn, while the Hawks were well rested. The Nets also played without reserve guard Alan Anderson due to a sprained ankle and he's questionable for this game. The Nets are 10-3 in their past 13 overall, tied for the best mark in the Eastern Conference over that stretch. They have won a season-best four straight at home. This will be a brother vs. brother matchup in Nets center Brook Lopez, who has been dominant since the All-Star break, and Blazers center Robin Lopez. Robin leads all-time 5-3.

The remaining schedule is pretty kind for Brooklyn so I think it will make the playoffs. After this game the Nets host Atlanta and Washington, travel to Milwaukee and then host Chicago and Orlando. The Nets lose head-to-head tiebreakers with the Heat and Celtics but win them against the Pacers and Hornets.

The Nets are 36-38-2 against the spread and 35-41 'over/under' on NBA odds.

 

First Meeting
On Nov. 15 in Portland, the Blazers were 2.5-point favorites on NBA odds and won 97-87. Aldridge and Batum also missed that game. Damian Lillard had 28 points and 10 assists and Leonard had a career-high 12 rebounds. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 21 points and Joe Johnson had 20. However, the Nets missed their first 17 3-point shots and finished 1-for-19 overall from long range. Brook Lopez has averaged 24.0 points over his past four games against the Trail Blazers. Portland is 20-9 against the Eastern Conference this season, while Brooklyn is 13-16 against the West. The Blazers are looking to sweep the season series over the Nets for the fourth time in the past six seasons.

NBA Free Picks: Doesn't seem like the Blazers even want to be in Brooklyn -- I wouldn't be surprised if Lillard doesn't play much. Take Brooklyn and the 'over' with your NBA picks.  The 'over' is 5-0 in the Nets' past five overall and in Portland's past five vs. the East. Brooklyn has covered five straight at home against teams with a winning road record. 

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