NBA Picks: Trail Blazers vs. Rockets Game 1

Jeff Grant

Friday, April 18, 2014 5:45 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 5:45 PM GMT

The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the best road underdogs in the league, which makes them an attractive play against the Houston Rockets Sunday night.

Quite a turnaround 
Portland finished tied for the sixth-most wins in franchise history during the regular season, which resulted in a 21-game improvement from last year’s 33-49 record

The Trail Blazers were able to turn things around from the perimeter, as they knocked down a team-record 770 3-pointers—the 14th most made by a squad in league history.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the team is 5-3 SU and 3-5 ATS when playing with three or more days rest.

NBA Picks: Trail Blazers vs. Rockets Series Price

Home court advantage
Houston earned home court advantage in this much-anticipated series by winning three of four regular-season meetings against Portland, including a pair of victories on this floor by averaging 122 points.

The Rockets have compiled a 33-8 SU home record, including an 18-8 mark versus conference rivals.

NBA handicappers will find that the squad is 4-2 SUATS as home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points during the 2013-14 campaign.

 
Lillard
Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard averaged 20.7 points and 5.6 assists during the regular season—numbers that allowed him to represent the franchise alongside teammate LaMarcus Aldridge in the All-Star game.

Lillard scored 33 points on 38 drives to the basket against the Rockets, while he also became just the fifth player in league history with 1,900 points and 600 assists in his first 100 career games.

Check out live NBA Championship Betting Lines

Scoring at will
The Rockets have finished second in the league in scoring the last two regular seasons, which is directly linked to acquiring shooting guard James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden stands fifth in the league in scoring 25.4 points per game—helped by the fact that he ranks second in free throws made.


Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Trail Blazers as one of their NBA playoff picks, as they’ve covered the number in six of their last seven games as road underdogs of 3.5 to 6 points. 

Pick: Portland Trail Blazers +5.5

[gameodds]5/264166/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

comment here