Portland and New Orleans meet in a battle of teams fighting for a play-in position. Although Damian Lillard has been the hottest player in the league, our NBA betting picks expect him to make less of an impact tonight.
The New Orleans Pelicans have a rock-solid defense against guards, which could prove to be the difference here.
New Orleans and the Portland Trail Blazers sit 10th and 11th in the Western Conference respectively and will attempt to crawl up the standings to perhaps avoid the play-in tournament altogether. Just 2.5 games separate Portland in 11th from the Clippers in sixth, making every game count.
With perhaps the hottest player in all of basketball, is the home side a deserving favorite?
Let’s break down how this one should go in our Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers NBA picks and predictions.
Pelicans vs Trail Blazers best odds
Pelicans vs Trail Blazers picks and predictions
This probably won’t earn me any fans, but I can’t help but think this line on Damian Lillard’s point total is far too inflated. Sure, he is the hottest player in the league and he just dropped 71 points a few nights ago, but he also went just 9-for-21 against the Warriors last time out, scoring 25 points.
So, he’s human. He’s also susceptible against a strong defense, which the Warriors have. Even in the midst of this incredible scoring run which started with a 50-piece on January 12, Lillard has only cleared this total in 13 of 20 games. While it’s slightly more than half, it’s not a virtual certainty that this will hit on a nightly basis.
The Pelicans rank fourth in the league in points allowed to opposing point guards, coughing up just 22 per game. They’re third in field goal percentage against, allowing just 41.7% shots to fall, and have allowed fewer than three 3-pointers per game.
New Orleans has the goods to at least make this a tough night for Lillard. It doesn’t even need to completely stop him in his tracks to help us cash this Under.
My best bet: Damian Lillard Under 35.5 points (-109)
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Pelicans vs Trail Blazers spread analysis
As you can deduce from the above, I’m not super hot on the Trail Blazers here. It’s going to be very difficult for them to win a game without Lillard firing on all cylinders, and I think CJ McCollum will do an excellent job on him in this one.
The Pelicans are going to be missing Jose Alvarado here along with Zion Williamson and Larry Nance, who have been out. They should have Jonas Valanciunas available, though, and Josh Richardson is also looking to be likely to play.
While it’s been a tough go of it for New Orleans during its four-game losing streak, it’s fallen victim to some inspired performances from the Magic, Knicks, Raptors, and Lakers over that stretch. All four of those teams played incredibly well, and it’s hard to call the Pelicans a bad team at the moment. Over the last 10, they’re around the middle of the pack in efficiency on both ends of the floor.
The Trail Blazers’ loss on Tuesday to the Warriors felt like a crash back to Earth, and on the second night of a back-to-back I don’t feel great about them producing a statement win.
Pelicans vs Trail Blazers Over/Under analysis
It’s hard to know what to make of the Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back considering the Over is 5-5 in those games this season. As the home team, though, the Over is 18-11-2, and when favored at home, the Over has hit in 71.4% of Portland’s games.
Portland is just 16th in pace over the last 10 games, and the Pelicans 22nd. While the Blazers are renowned for their offense — particularly at home — they’ve been a tick worse over those 10 games. On top of that, they’re about to come up against a very physical Pels team which has done a good job on opposing guards.
An interesting nugget here is that the Over is 6-2 in the eight games where NOLA has been the team with the rest advantage. I expect it to grind down Portland, which should push this one to the Under.
Pelicans vs Trail Blazers betting trend to know
The Trail Blazers are 15-16 ATS coming off of a loss this season. Find more NBA betting trends for Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers.
Pelicans vs Trail Blazers game info
|Moda Center, Portland, OR
|Wednesday, March 1, 2023
|10:00 p.m. ET