In: NBA Free Picks23 Apr 2012
Free Picks Newsletter Lead Researcher
162-109-1 Overall Record
NBA Predictions: Portland Trail Blazers (+13.5) vs. San Antonio Spurs (-13.5) Over-Under 206
Who would have ever guessed that Portland’s season would wind down like this after their 7-2 start. The Blazers made a coaching change in March, lost their best player for the season due to a hip injury, and come into tonight’s game losers of 7 of the last 10 contests. These does not seem like ideal ending for a team that briefly held the number 1 seed in the Western Conference at one point of the season, but this is the situation and matters will only get worse with a trip to San Antonio.
Last game the Trailblazers were forced to use Nolan Smith, Wesley Mathews, Hasheem Thabeet, J.J. Hickson, and Luke Babbitt as their starters. These guys make up a starting five that would fail to strike fear in the minds of half the teams in the Atlantic 10, so you imagine would Greg Popovich in the Spurs must be thinking before the opening tip. Just think of how well San Antonio has played lately as a team.
The Spurs are averaging 118.8 points per game over the course of their last five contests, while only allowing 97.4 points per game to their opponents. This formula has allowed San Antonio to win 8 of their last 10 games including two dominating performances over the Lakers during that span. Apparently, the Spurs are trying to abandon their old far from fan friendly low scoring style of play that was effective enough to help Tim Duncan win four NBA titles.
It’s hard to believe for most of us who have followed basketball for a long time, but San Antonio is lighting up the scoreboards and dominating opponents all at the same time. San Antonio’s most recent 8 victories have come by an average margin of 17.6 points per game. When the Spurs are posting numbers like that it is hard to envision the Trailblazers having much of a chance.
Portland is just 7-17 against the spread in their last 24 road games versus teams with winning home records and 2-5 against the spread in their last 7 games when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game. That is not very good news for Portland’s chances in this one at all. Add the fact that the Blazers are just 7-18 against the spread in their last 25 games following a win against the spread in their previous game and I would not advise my worst enemy to put their money on this team.
The only x-factor is who the Spurs will decide to rest. Even if Coach Popovich decides to rest a key player or two, the Spurs have proven that their reserves are fully capable of stepping up an ensuring a victory in the absence of their stars. Just think back to the dominating performance San Antonio put on against Sacramento a few nights ago when Tim Duncan watched from the sideline.
The Spurs are 5-1-1 against the spread in their last 7 games played with no rest and 13-3-2 against the spread in situations after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. The Trailblazers have posted only an 8-23 record in games played away from their home arena, which is 1 more road win than the Bobcats have totaled the entire season, but that’s a consolation that won’t help them in this one. The Spurs will win and cover the spread versus the overmatched Trailblazers.
Pick: San Antonio -13.5