Take Red-Hot Home Trailblazers Over Complacent Rockets

Thursday, March 30, 2017 5:10 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 30, 2017 5:10 PM UTC

Don’t make a move on Thursday’s nationally televised game between Houston and Portland without first reading Ross Benjamin’s betting preview. This article concludes with one of Ross’ free NBA predictions.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/houston-rockets-vs-portland-trail-blazers-3067924/" title="Live Odds For This Game"><strong>Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers</strong></a></h2><p>Portland will host Houston on Thursday night in a battle between Western Conference teams. The opening tip is slated for 10:35 PM ET and the game will be televised by TNT. At the time of this writing, <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/" title="Live NBA Odds">NBA betting odds</a> indicate that Houston is a 2.0-point favorite across the board, and there’s a total ranging from 230.0 to 230.5.</p><p>These teams have played one another twice this season with Houston won on both occasions, and they did so by sizable margins of 16 and 17-points. Each of those contests easily went over the total with a combined 239.5 points scored per game. As a matter of fact, dating back to last season, the last 4 meetings between these teams have all gone over the total.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Surging Blazers Playing with Urgency and Desperation</strong></h2><p>Portland has gone an impressive 12-3 over their last 15 games. That successful stretch has catapulted them to a 1.0 game lead over Denver for the 8<sup>th</sup> and final Western Conference playoff spot. They’re also a perfect 4-0 SU&amp;ATS in their previous 4 contests, and won by a substantial 13.5 points per game.</p><p>After being a porous defensive team for the better part of this season, Portland has shown a marked improvement in that area of late. During their last 5 outings, Portland is allowing just 96.4 points per game, held opponents to only 43.5% shooting, and limited them to a paltry 28.3% conversion rate from 3-point territory. The latter of those statistics (3-point defense) is significant when considering Houston has attempted more 3-point shots this season compared to any other team.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Avoiding Complacency is Rockets Biggest Challenge</strong></h2><p>As opposed to Portland, Houston clinched a playoff spot weeks ago, and their biggest challenge right now is guarding against complacency. The Rockets can finish no less than 2<sup>nd place</sup> in the Southwest Division standings. Nevertheless, Houston is 6.0 games behind San Antonio for the top spot in the division, and each team has only 8 games left to play. Barring a monumental San Antonio collapse, the Rockets have little chance of improving upon their current situation, thus bringing their motivation into question.</p><h2> </h2><h2><strong>Final Analysis and Pick</strong></h2><p>Houston’s defensive intensity has left much to be desired in recent outings. The Rockets have allowed 114.8 points per game, and opponents have shot a red-hot 48.0% against them during their previous 5 contests. That goes hand in hand with a previously mentioned lack of motivation I’ve already alluded to. Furthermore, Houston may be prone to being overconfident tonight against an opponent they’ve handled with relative ease during their previous 2 encounters.</p><p>Portland has 6 of their last 8 regular season games at home. If they can hold serve on its home floor, their chances of being a playoff team becomes highly probable. Especially considering the team (Denver) chasing them has 6 away games and only 2 at home remaining to play. I like the home underdog in this spot, and one of my <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nba/" title="Free NBA Picks">Thursday NBA picks</a> will be proof of just that.</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NBA Pick: Portland +2.0</strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Best Line Offered: <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4418&amp;book=5dimes" rel="nofollow" title="top rated sportsbook">at 5Dimes</a></strong></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3067924, "sportsbooksIds":[19,93,1096,1275,180], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]</p>
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