Trail Blazers vs. Clippers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+3|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Trail Blazers face the Clippers on Monday night. This is the Trail Blazers’ first road game as they lost their home opener by three to the Kings but bounced back with a dominant 29-point win over the Suns on Saturday.
The Clippers are one of just four winless NBA teams after dropping their opener by two at the Warriors then getting upset at home on Saturday night against the Grizzlies by six.
The Clippers are favored by three as oddsmakers expect them to get their first victory of the year in a high-scoring matchup.
Portland Trail Blazers
If the Trail Blazers cover or pull the slight upset, they need Damian Lillard to have a big night while they continue taking a step forward defensively from last season. The Trail Blazers will be without both Norman Powell (knee) and Tony Snell (foot) on Monday.
Portland’s star, Damian Lillard, hasn’t quite looked like himself through just two games as he has made just two of 16 3-pointers on the season while averaging 19.5 points per game.
However, his backcourt partner CJ McCollum has come out on fire, making six of 11 3-pointers in each of the first two games while averaging 31 points per game. If Lillard can find his form on Monday while McCollum stays hot, the Trail Blazers will have a great shot at pulling off the upset.
After finishing with the second-worst Defensive Rating in the NBA last season (116.7 per Cleaning The Glass), the Trail Blazers have slightly improved their Defensive Rating to 115.8, which ranks 23rd so far.
First-year head coach Chauncey Billups has emphasized improving defensively, and although the Trail Blazers are coming off an impressive blowout win over the defending Western Conference champion Suns, they did so because they got hot offensively (with an incredible 143 Offensive Rating) rather than because they played lockdown defense.
The Trail Blazers have significantly improved on the glass, however, as they rank third in Defensive Rebound Rate after finishing among the bottom third of the league in this statistic each of the last two seasons.
Los Angeles Clippers
If the Clippers hope to get their first win of the season, it will be because they start playing better defense and get some regression on 3s. Serge Ibaka (back) and Jason Preston (foot) remain out while Keon Johnson (illness) is questionable for Monday.
After ranking among the 10 best defenses each of the last two seasons, the Clippers rank just 26th in Defensive Rating (117.2, per Cleaning The Glass) and have allowed opponents to shoot the second-highest Effective Field Goal percentage from the floor.
While the Clippers shouldn’t be expected to have the same caliber of defense without impact defender Kawhi Leonard available this season, they proved in the playoffs that they are still more than capable on that end.
After leading the NBA in 3-point shooting accuracy (41.8%) and ranking second in overall Effective Field Goal percentage, the Clippers rank just 18th in 3-point accuracy and 21st in eFG%.
Paul George has come out hot, shooting 43.5% on 3s, but surprisingly no other Clippers have made more than 35% of their shots from downtown. With Leonard out, the Clippers simply need Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann to be more efficient than they have been so far this season offensively.
Trail Blazers-Clippers Pick
These teams have the two lowest turnover percentages in the NBA, and the winner of this game will consequently have to score more efficiently in the half court without many transition opportunities from turnovers.
Through just two games, the Trail Blazers lead the NBA with a 119.8 Offensive Rating in the half court. The Clippers rank a respectable eighth in the league in half court Offensive Rating, but they do so at a much less efficient 99.4 rating.
While I don’t place a ton of emphasis on stats with such a small sample size, it is significant that the Trail Blazers have seven players shooting 36% or better on 3s while the Clippers have just one. Furthermore, the Trail Blazers have managed to do this with Lillard making just 12.5% of his shots from downtown.
The Trail Blazers have also placed a greater emphasis on team rebounding and defense after being poor in both categories last season. The Trail Blazers have out-rebounded their first two opponents while the Clippers have been out-rebounded twice.
Chauncey Billups has the Trail Blazers playing better basketball right now, and I like their chances of going into Staples Center and covering on Monday night.
I like-but-don’t-love the value of this bet at +3, so I will prefer to get it live at +5.5 or better, which should be available in a game that should have some variance as both teams shoot a high volume of threes. The Clippers will come out focused and ready to get their first victory, so wait until their first charge before betting on the Blazers at +5.5 or better live.
Pick: Trail Blazers Live at +5.5 or Better