Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||-2|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Wednesday night features a Western Conference clash between the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans as both are fighting to get into the play-in tournament. The Trail Blazers won their first meeting by 11 points, but they play three more times before the end of the season.
After their loss last night, the Trail Blazers remain a half-game behind the Pelicans in the standings. Luckily they return home to Portland where they are 17-14 this season. They are 18-11 as favorites while covering in 48.4% of those games.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans have lost four consecutive games and 15 of their last 19 overall. They have fallen from among the top six in the standings to now on the outside looking in. Their 10-21 road record will be put to the test tonight.
Will the Pelicans Offense Step Up?
The Pelicans have been a completely different team this season with and without All-Star Zion Williamson. They are 17-12 while scoring 117.5 points per game with Williamson and 13-20 while scoring 111.5 per game without him. Williamson remains out after suffering another setback.
As an underdog, the Pelicans have only covered the spread in 39.1% of their games. They have lost 10 of their last 11 road games by an average of 10.1 points per game. Scoring has been their biggest issue over the last six games – during that time they have a 1-5 record while only averaging 103.5 points per game.
Brandon Ingram has put the team on his back from a scoring perspective without Williamson able to play. He has led the team in scoring in nine of their last 10 games while averaging 22.9 points per game. Unfortunately, Ingram has only been healthy for 27 games as injuries have gotten the best of him.
In his first full season with the Pelicans, CJ McCollum has taken a step back with his efficiency and scoring but is averaging a career-high 5.9 assists per game. The Trail Blazers rank 27th in Defensive Rating (116.7) entering tonight, paving the way for a potential big outing from both Ingram and McCollum.
Slowing down Damian Lillard will be the Pelicans’ biggest priority on defense. They rank ninth in Defensive Rating and lead the league by allowing only 33.9% accuracy from beyond the arc. Lillard has incredible range, but the Pelicans have a few defensive stalwarts who can make his life a little difficult.
Can Dame Put the Trail Blazers on His Back Again?
Playing on a back-to-back, the Trail Blazers had a double-digit lead in the second half but ended up losing to the Warriors by 18 points on Tuesday night. They were outscored in the second half 75-40 as they lost yet another road game.
Lillard is arguably the best player in the league right now, and that doesn’t feel like a hot take. The veteran point guard is averaging a career-high 32.3 points with 7.2 assists per game. He scored a career-high 71 points on Sunday but will be tested against a very tough defensive team tonight.
Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic remain out, which has proven to be problematic for the Trail Blazers as a team. Lillard hasn’t slowed down as his Usage Rate increases 6% with Simons off the floor this season. Not having another scorer really puts the pressure on Lillard to do everything for them.
The Trail Blazers rank fourth in Offensive Rating (116.5) despite making only 40.9 field goals per game, which ranks as the eighth-lowest in the league. They rank 23rd in Pace and sixth in isolation possessions per game. Getting the ball in Lillard’s hands and letting him work is their entire offense right now.
Tonight is the Trail Blazers’ third game in their last four nights. Lillard spent a lot of energy in his 71-point outing as he put up a crazy 38 field goal attempts. The spot to attack the Pelicans defensively is through transition offense, but the Trail Blazers average the third-fewest transition possessions (15.6) per game.
Pelicans-Trail Blazers Pick
With the Pelicans’ offensive struggles recently and the Trail Blazers having a one-player team at the moment, taking the game total under 232.5 points is the best way to attack this matchup. Lillard can easily go for 50+ points against any team, but with no sidekick, the Trail Blazers will have a tough time scoring.
The under has hit in five consecutive matchups with the Trail Blazers and Pelicans, and I will bet on that trend continuing tonight. There are too many key players missing from both teams, so expect more of a defensive battle in this spot tonight. I would bet this under all the way down to 229.5 points.