Beverley will be back
The Rockets had a very big scare in their first playoff game of 2014, as Patrick Beverley sprained his knee, and was visibly limited afterwards. However he has been medically cleared by doctors as of Monday morning, and it appears as if he will be good to go on Wednesday night. This is huge news for the Rockets, because when Beverley was not in the game, Damian Lillard was unstoppable.
The NBA odds have taken this into account, and after losing Game 1 SU at home, the Rockets are still -6 favorites in Game 2, with a total of 214 ½. Even with the total looking like a solid value, I am not willing to take a chance on it. Now including their one playoff game this season, the last eight times these two teams have gotten together, the total has gone over.
At +6 though, the Blazers still seem like a pretty good value in Houston. Even if they don’t win this one SU, they still have a really good chance of keeping this game within reach.
For starters, the Blazers have the size to combat Dwight Howard in the paint. Not only do they have LaMarcus Aldridge occupying Howard some on the defensive end, but Robin Lopez is bigger than Howard, and has been giving him some issues over this season.
Beverley being back should limit Lillard some, however with a torn meniscus and now a sprain in that same knee, I am not sold on Beverley being fully himself for the rest of this series. All things considered, the Blazers are by far the best NBA odds value of Wednesday.
The Sharp Pick
Portland has now covered three of their last four games against the Rockets, and it seems as if they matchup pretty well with Houston. Not only so they have the size to combat Howard in the post, but they have a multitude of quality defenders to throw at James Harden. Between Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, Harden will have a fresh defender in his face all game again, and even though I doubt he shoots 8-28 again, it still won’t be easy for him to score.
The Blazers went 31-23 ATS this season after a SU win, and with one day off in between games they have been very good as well. Portland is 27-18 ATS with one day of rest in between games, and with the playoff schedule the way it is, Portland could have a great advantage, even on the road.
I think the Blazers can keep this game within one or two possessions. Howard and Harden will still have problems on both ends of the floor due to the Blazers length on the wing and in the post, and even with Beverley defending Lillard well, the Blazers can still cover this spread. Even though they may not win this one SU, I think Portland is a bad enough matchup where there is little chance the Rockets get a deciding win. That being said, I am adding a Portland cover to my NBA picks for this Wednesday night battle.
My NBA Pick: Blazers +6