The NBA odds haven’t been kind lately to the Golden State Warriors. But on Sunday, they’ll get to play a tired Portland Trail Blazers team that has had its own problems.
Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to January 25 inclusive:
If the NBA playoffs started on Sunday, the Golden State Warriors (26-18 SU, 19-23-2 ATS) would be playing the Portland Trail Blazers (33-11 SU, 25-19 ATS) in the Western Conference quarterfinals. But they’ll have to settle for regular-season action for now. And Golden State had better find another gear, or else there might not be a postseason in Oakland. The Dubs have lost five of their last seven games at 1-6 ATS. They’re in sixth place in the West, just three games up on the ninth-place Memphis Grizzlies.
Portland isn’t exactly sitting pretty in the No. 3 seed, either. Although the Blazers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves (+7 away) 115-104 on Saturday, they’re still just 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS in their last four games, and 7-13 ATS in their last 20. Sunday’s early NBA odds have Portland getting 4.5 points on the road, down from five at the open, with a total of 216.5.
Down in Front
We’ve been covering the Warriors a lot lately, and earlier on during this slump of theirs, the problem seemed to be Andre Iguodala’s poor shooting. But that’s not the problem anymore – Iguodala (14.5 PER) has righted the ship over the past three games, and he was a very effective 6-of-9 for 16 points in Friday’s 121-120 loss to the Wolves (+3.5 away). Golden State just wasn’t able to stop Kevin Love (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Nikola Pekovic (22 points, 14 rebounds) down low. Kneel before Zod~!
This isn’t the first time the Dubs have been abused in the paint. The Indiana Pacers (David West, Roy Hibbert) got them on Monday, and the Oklahoma City Thunder (Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins) shoved them around last week, although that game will be remembered more for Kevin Durant’s 54 points. It’s not that the Warriors are hopeless defensively – they’re just not at 100 percent capacity right now.
We’ve already talked about the injuries to reserve centers Jermaine O’Neal and Festus Ezeli, but the starting unit is also beginning to break down. David Lee (19.9 PER) is playing with a sprained left shoulder that he picked up guarding Hibbert, and Andrew Bogut (17.4 PER) has a strained right knee that has cut into his practice time. Both were game-time decisions against Minnesota, and while they’re still in action, they’re not healthy by any means.
The Air up There
So what does Portland have in store on the frontline? A whole lot of tall timber. LaMarcus Aldridge (23.9 PER) isn’t a killer by any means, but he does play harder than people realize. Robin Lopez (16.7 PER) is a physical center who just racked up 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Wolves. And on the bench, both Joel Freeland (13.1 ORB%) and Thomas Robinson (11.5 ORB%) are very good at grabbing those precious offensive rebounds.
Impressive. But when it comes to playing defense, none of these four gentlemen will be mistaken for Bill Russell. In fact, the Blazers as a whole are remarkably one-dimensional. They’re the best offensive team in the NBA (110.6 points per 100 possessions), but just No. 24 overall when it comes to stopping opponents (105.6 points allowed/100).
Which is a tremendous recipe for cashing in the OVER. The Blazers only got a push against the NBA totals on Saturday, but that still leaves the OVER at 29-14-1, the most profitable betting record in the West – spreads or totals. Only those crazy Detroit Pistons (OVER 31-12) are doing more for savvy NBA bettors. So, since Portland is playing this game on zero days of rest, and Golden State is having issues, I’m recommending a bet on the total in Sunday’s matchup. May the sphere be with you.
NBA Pick: Take OVER 216.5 (–104) at Marathon