Minnesota vs. Portland
Aldridge has, and should continue to be an MVP candidate this season, as the 28-year old is having a career season. He is the main reason why the Blazers have been so good this season, and while I doubt they finish in one of the top two seeds in the West this season, they surely have a chance at capturing a top three or four seed in the playoffs. I won’t go as far as to say they will beat out OKC in the second half for the Northwest division, but they will give them a run for their money.
Tonight, they should also give the Wolves a nice run as well. Minnesota will likely be tired after their fantastic win against the Warriors last night, but if the Blazers don’t play better defense than the Warriors did, it’s going to be a long night once again. While I doubt they play defense that badly, I do think the scoring will be inflated tonight because of the Wolves’ game last night.
Minnesota’s scoring on the second night of a back to back hasn’t been great this season, but even though they are only 4-6 cashing the over with no rest, I think the total is definitely in play tonight, even though it sits at 219 ½ on the NBA odds board.
The Sharp Pick
With one day off in between their games Thursday and tonight, the Blazers should really unleash the scoring. When playing on one day’s rest this season, the Blazers are 14-7 cashing the over for NBA bettors. They are also exactly 14-7 cashing the over at home this season, and against a Wolves team coming off a tough late game last night, it looks great even at 219 ½. The Wolves don’t play much defense either as was shown last night, so Aldridge and the rest of the Blazers should have a floor of 108 or higher in this game.
The Wolves are still very dangerous, and their recent three game winning streak SU can be attributed to the resurgent play of Ricky Rubio running the offense. He was playing horribly in the month of December, and he wasn’t even making the floor in crunch time during a stretch of games. However Rubio has dished out double-digit assists (5/1 assist to turnover ratio) in his last two games, and he has also averaged 10 points per game in those two games, which is around the offensive output Minnesota needs from him to keep opposing defenses honest.
If Rubio keeps up his very recent play, the Wolves have a great shot at staying with the Blazers tonight. As long as Rubio continues his recent hot streak on the offensive and defensive end (he also has nine steals in those last two games) the Wolves will score enough on Portland to cash the over for our free NBA picks.
NBA Pick: OVER 219 ½