NBA Picks: Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 6:40 PM GMT

The Portland Trail Blazers (25-23) are slowly creeping away from the .500 mark as they’re starting to put it together as a team. Portland sits just one game behind the Houston Rockets for the 8th playoffs spot in the Western Conference. Every game counts as Portland faces Dirk, O.J. and the Mavs (18-27).

Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 8:30 pm ET at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

The Odds

5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists the Mavericks as a 4.5 betting favorite and the total for the game is 198.5. Although Portland has been a very poor road team this season, the NBA odds makers created some steep odds; Portland is the far superior basketball squad.

[gameodds]5/217298/43/us[/gameodds]

The Franchise

Portland has a team of stars, but it’s safe to say that veteran LaMarcus Aldridge is in the prime of his career and the leader of this basketball team.

Aldridge has it all except maybe for a consistent outside game. Aldridge is a 6 foot 11 assassin that can protect the boards with a long wingspan. He’s had 5 consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 21.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks in his last 5 games on 54.7% from the field. If he was on a team with less scoring threats, LaMarcus Aldridge would gain more national attention and could easily average 25 points per game if needed.

The Blazers have so much firepower in their starting 5; it’s their defense (98.6 points per game) , their inability to play away from the Rose Garden, and their lack of depth on the bench that are preventing them from being an elite basketball team.

A Winnable Game For Dallas…

Although the Mavericks haven’t been able to stop LaMarcus Aldridge, the Mavericks have taken four out of the last 5 meetings against Portland at the American Airlines Center. If Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews keep up the sloppy play, the Mavs have the opportunity to take another game away from Portland.

While Dirk Nowitzki prides himself on hard work and not making mistakes, it’s the Trail Blazers who have been committing the errors. In their last game, Portland had 28 turnovers against Minnesota. Damian Lillard could have an excuse in being a rookie as he’s averaged over 4 turnovers in his last 5 games, but Nicolas Batum committed 7 turnovers in his last game. What you have is a young team; They’re going to excel on the offensive end, but they’re going to make dumb mistakes.

Dallas’experience versus Portland’s lack of experience could be the key to the game here.

The Shawn Marion of Phoenix

You’re seeing some exceptional play from Shawn Marion as of late. Although most teams get steamrolled by the Thunder and Dallas followed suit, Marion had another good game against a quality team.

He scored 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting from the field. Shawn Marion has been a consistent figure on this Mavericks squad for the last couple of months. If he continues to play well, young teams like Portland are beatable. Look for Marion to play well at home.

Head to Head Trends

The over is 5-1 in the last 6 outings

The Trail Blazers are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings

Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings

Outcome

Although the Blazers have been a poor road team all season, Dallas doesn’t deserve to be declared a 4.5 point betting favorite. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a gift, but Portland has a legitimate shot at winning this game. Play it safe with your NBA picks tonight and grab the Trail Blazers.

NBA Pick: Portland +4.5