Finally, the title should be Dame. It is that time again as the Portland Trail Blazers get ready to play the Indiana Pacers with their superstar guard back in the lineup.
The Blazers’ victory over the Jazz was due in large part to the efforts of Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant, and with Dame’s return, Portland’s attack should be even more potent. Given their arsenal, our NBA selections favor the Trail Blazers to score big this season.
Put simply, the timing couldn’t be better for Chauncey Billups’ banged-up club. Despite having lost six of their previous seven games without Lillard, Portland beat the Utah Jazz 116-111 Wednesday night thanks to a 45-point performance by Anfernee Simons.
Although two straight losses have shown some holes in their defense and important player Tyrese Haliburton is questionable with a groin ailment, Indiana continues to perform above expectations in the Eastern Conference.
Here are some betting choices and predictions for tonight’s NBA game between the Pacers and the Trail Blazers.
Odds favoring the Pacers over the Trail Blazers
Pacers vs Trail Blazers picks and predictions
Anfernee Simons scored a career-high 45 points on 15-of-25 shooting yesterday night, and Jerami Grant was a key contributor off the bench, scoring 33 points and dishing out five assists. Portland’s offense will finally be able to get going tonight with Damian Lillard back in the lineup.
Despite Billups’ best efforts to adjust the lineup in light of the Trail Blazers’ extensive injury list, he now has little option but to play his top guys for extended stretches. Despite the fact that weariness is an issue, Simons and Grant are once again on track to clock approximately 40 minutes. Both players have the ability to generate their own scoring opportunity, which is a huge boon for the offense.
If Lillard can go back to playing regular minutes, it will allow Simons and Grant to take much easier shots than they have been of late. Not that Simons had any trouble picking his spots last night, as he burned the Utah backcourt repeatedly. It’s hard to imagine the Indiana perimeter defense being able to contain the rookie guard, who has developed into a legitimate scoring threat from a variety of positions.
Without Lillard, Grant has stepped up to play a larger offensive role, and the results have been reliable. In his previous five games, he has scored 27 or more points four times, averaging 33 per game and masking the inconsistent shooting of his teammates and Simons.
I think the Trail Blazers will capitalize on the Pacers’ poor defensive play this week and post a high scoring game tonight.
My best bet: Trail Blazers team total Over 119.5 | +115
Pacers vs Trail Blazers spread analysis
When you consider that the Blazers used an eight-man rotation yesterday night in Utah, you can see why this is such a taxing back-to-back for them. When deciding whether or not to wager on Portland, keep in mind that Simons played 41 minutes, Jusuf Nurkic played 39, and Grant played 37, but that Lillard’s return might boost the home team.
Following Friday’s 139-point loss to the Jazz, Indiana has some explaining to do about its defensive performance against the Sacramento Kings (137 points). Before halftime against Utah, the Pacers were completely blown out after allowing a series of easy transition baskets, and head coach Rick Carlisle has had very little time to work with his team to address this issue.
The road team got an extra day to get ready, but they are winless against the spread in their previous five games when they had just had a day off between matches. It’s possible that the Trail Blazers cover this little spread if Haliburton is injured.
Pacers vs Trail Blazers Over/Under analysis
Taking into account Portland’s recent Sunday performance, the Under is the play here. The Trail Blazers are 7-1 in their previous eight games following a straight up win, and they have hit in each of their last six Sunday games. Haliburton’s groin injury is a major unknown, but Lillard’s return at a packed Moda Center is a certainty. Just how long will Dame play, and how well does his fitness look?
The Trail Blazers have had a demanding schedule this week, with games against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers at home, followed by a game against the Indiana Pacers the day after playing in Utah. Given that Indiana is coming off some tough defensive outings of its own and Portland isn’t as locked in on defense, we might be in for a high-scoring night with plenty of skilled one-on-one bucket getters on display if both teams aren’t as focused on defense.
As it stands, I’m backing the Blazers for a high-scoring game regardless of whether or not Haliburton is available to play. The injury report should be monitored right up until the start of the game.
Pacers vs Trail Blazers betting trend to know
During their current skid, Indiana is 1-3 against the spread (ATS), with four consecutive defeats by double digits, including back-to-back routs. Seek out the latest Pacers vs. Trail Blazers NBA betting trends.
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