Trail Blazers-Magic: Portland’s First Road Game Won’t Be Successful

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t played a road game yet, the only team not to, but that changes Thursday night when they visit the Orlando Magic.

Portland (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) at Orlando (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS)Thursday, 7 p.m. ETFree NBA Pick: MagicBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The NBA schedule-makers were pretty kind to the Portland Trail Blazers in that they opened with a three-game homestand. They will be the last time to play a road game as they fly about as far as possible in the continental USA (only Miami would be further) to face the Magic in Orlando on Thursday night.

The all-time series between these teams is 32-25 in favor of the Blazers, who swept last year. Damian Lillard averaged 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists, and CJ McCollum 22.0 points. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic in averaging 18.5 points and 12.0 rebounds in the two games. Despite last year’s loss, Orlando has won five of the past eight at home in the series. The series is tied 14-all there.

Portland comes off its first loss, 125-124 in overtime to Washington on Monday night as Lillard’s potential winning layup attempt was blocked by Otto Porter Jr. at the buzzer. Lillard had 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Jusuf Nurkic finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds. McCollum wasn’t good, going 5-for-25 for 13 points. Lillard and McCollum both scored at least 20 in the first two wins; Portland was 23-10 last season in games in which both players scored 20-plus points.

The Blazers are pretty healthy – Moe Harkless is on a minutes limit off a knee injury, but other than that. Jake Layman has been starting in his place. Portland is putting up 124.3 points per game and leads the NBA in rebounding, which is surprising because this is a guard-oriented team for the most part.

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Have a night, @jisaac_01 👏

Career-High Points (18) ✅
Career-High Rebounds (12) ✅
Magic Victory ✅#PureMagic pic.twitter.com/FIXGLYARnK

— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 23, 2018
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Magic Offensively Challenged, But Playing D

The Magic are a moderate surprise at 2-2, but then again they got off to a positive start last year before going in the crapper and picking high as usual in the draft lottery. Hard to say what this team is. It lost at home to a bad Charlotte side but then on Monday went to Boston, probably the second-most talented team in the NBA, and won 93-90. The Magic were 3-25 in their final 28 road games last year.

Vucevic had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Jonathan Isaac had career highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Evan Fournier had 14 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Orlando had a fabulous assist percentage of 73.7 – by comparison, the Warriors led the NBA last year in that category at 68.5 percent.

This team has some serious athletic potential with Isaac (No. 6 overall pick in 2017), Aaron Gordon and rookie first-round pick Mo Bamba (No. 6 overall pick this year). It seems like every team in the NBA in the early going is averaging at least 115 points scored and allowed, but not Orlando. It’s allowing 106.8, which is Top 10. Alas, the Magic are only scoring 100.0 ppg (29th) for first-year coach Steve Clifford – known as a defensive guy.

Orlando is 1-1 this season at home (1-1 ATS) after going 17-24 there in 2017-18.

  • Trail Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.
  • Trail Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
  • Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.

I usually recommend betting against a team at the beginning or end of a long road trip – the more travel the better. Plus, the Blazers aren't used to a road environment yet. Take the Magic for a Thursday NBA Pick. Secondary lean to ‘under.’

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