Short Spread Makes Us Pick the Dog in Blazers vs. Bulls

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, December 12, 2014 3:49 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 3:49 PM UTC

Portland visits Chicago on Friday night in a classic West vs. East matchup. Chicago is currently 13-8 SU for the season in the Eastern Conference. Portland enters at 17-5 SU in 3 place in the rugged Western Conference. Will the west win tonight?

Portland Trail Blazers at Chicago Bulls (-2-) 7:05 ET ESPN

Portland visits Chicago on Friday night in a classic West vs. East matchup. Chicago is currently 13-8 SU for the season, tied for 4th place with Cleveland in the Eastern Conference.  Portland enters at 17-5 SU in 3rdplace in the rugged Western Conference. The record is 84-38 SU when West meets East this season, including 7-1 ATS most recently. With Portland installed as an underdog in this matchup, I find great value in this selection.

For Chicago Bulls, PG Derrick Rose has returned to the lineup for 8 consecutive games. Yet, he is just beginning to round into shape. Tonight, Chicago may well be playing without the Bulls’ best front court player, Noah, who has been downgraded to “expected to miss” with an ankle injury. This bodes poorly for a Bulls team who is just 3-5 SU in the NBA odds on their home court this season. Also troubling for Chicago is that a team who allowed just 92 PPG last season is now allowing just shy of 100 PPG.  Their most recent game, a 101-80 win vs. Brooklyn on this court, is hardly a buy sign against the Nets team who has lost 3 straight, all by 22 or more points. The Bulls are a solid team, who may eventually challenge for Eastern Conference superiority. Of note in this matchup, however, is their 3-5 SU record vs. Western opponents. That includes a 105-87 loss at Portland which sets up a situation that looks more like dominance than a revenge opportunity for Chicago.

Portland has won 7 consecutive games against Chicago, going 6-1 ATS in the process. That includes winning the last 3 games on this court, when their defense has held the Bulls to just 84 PPG.  That defense is currently playing its best of the season, holding its last 6 opponents to an average of 92 PPG. That has reduced the Blazers’ defense to 95 PPG, a notable improvement over their 103 PPG defense of last season.  The Blazers feature a solid backcourt of Lillard and Mathews with interior forces of Aldrich and Batum. The Blazers will not lack for motivation, as they are coming off their worst game of the season in their most recent outing. That was a 90-82 loss at short-handed Minnesota just 2 nights ago, when they shot just 38% from the field.  But, this role has been a positive for the Blazers this season who are 3-1 ATS following a loss. Rounding out our West vs. East scenario, we find that Portland is a perfect 10-0 SU this year vs. Eastern Conference foes. Simply cannot resist playing the Blazers as a top NBA pick in this matchup.

Free NBA Pick: Blazers +2.5 at 5Dimes

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