Trail Blazers Small Home Favorites Versus Pelicans

Jay Pryce

Saturday, December 2, 2017 2:13 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 2:13 PM UTC

The Trail Blazers are 3.5-point favorites at Moda Center Saturday night (10 p.m. ET), hosting the reeling Pelicans, losers of three straight. We're predicting New Orleans to come up short once again. Best bet and preview here. 

New Orleans Pelicans vs Portland Trail Blazers (-3.5)

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Free NBA Pick: Blazers -3.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Moda Center Dominance, Backcourt Matches Up Well

The Trail Blazers have taken 12 of the last 13 meetings versus the Pelicans at Moda Center. Star point guard Damian Lillard suited up in nine, leading Portland to wins in each by an 8.3 average margin. Lillard has put up big numbers against a historically bad Pelicans perimeter defense, posting 22.1 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game. The two-time NBA All-Star is arguably having his best season yet, one of four players in the league averaging a 25-5-6 stat line. Good luck stopping this:

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all the contact in the world can't stop @Dame_Lillard

— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 1, 2017

Shooting guard C.J. McCollum is loving the matchup as well, scoring 20-plus points in four of the last five meetings. The sharpshooter is 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) from behind the arc in these games.

Portland is 7-1 SU and 6-1-1 ATS when the backcourt duo combine to shoot better than 45 percent from the field. The Pelicans allow 49.1 points per game to guards this season.

Pelicans (11-11 SU, 11-11 ATS)

Big Three Heating Up, Back-to-Back Woes

The Pelicans trio of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Jrue Holiday is on fire. Davis picked up Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games from Nov. 20-26, posting 29.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in the stretch. It’s just the third time in his career winning the award. Cousins, meanwhile, is the only NBA player averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per contest, while Holiday has tallied 20-plus points and assists in four of the last six games. The big three combined for 53 points, 27 rebounds, and 7 assists in last night’s 114-108 loss at Utah.

Slick passing and getting either Davis or Cousins open under the basket is the game plan. The duo account for 46.9 percent of the team’s points and 54.0 percent of rebounds. New Orleans, in fact, ranks second in the league in points in the paint and assists with 52.0 and 26.0 per game respectively.

So much reliance on Davis, Cousins, and Holiday might factor into the fact New Orleans is 2-6 SU and ATS in the second night of back-to-back games since Boogie came over from Sacramento last February. The team is shooting just 43.6 percent from the floor, putting up 100.0 points per game.

Free Pick

Portland’s frontcourt is boosted by the return of Al-Farouq Aminu. The former Pelican and defensive specialist missed 13 games due to a sprained right ankle. He will feature in a rotation tasked at slowing down the inevitably tired duo of Cousins and Davis. Since last February, the Pelicans have yet to beat a team on the road with a point differential greater than 1.2 points. Portland enters averaging 3.7, seventh most in the NBA. Lay the 3.5 points with the Trail Blazers as your NBA pick.

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