Tuesday’s NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets on Trail Blazers vs. Pelicans

Tuesday’s NBA Expert Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets on Trail Blazers vs. Pelicans article feature image

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3).

With a short slate tonight, our NBA crew has zeroed on one game that they are betting: Trail Blazers vs. Pelicans.

There was already a lot happening in this game with Carmelo Anthony making his return to the hardwood on Tuesday night. Add in the fact that All-Star point guard Damian Lillard will sit out and this game has now become our experts’ main focus.

See how they are betting the game below.

Odds as of Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. ET

Mears: Trail Blazers at Pelicans

  • Spread: Pelicans -1
  • Over/Under: 230
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

Well, I wrote up how I liked the over in this game and right after I finished, Damian Lillard was ruled out.

I immediately grabbed Pelicans +4 and the under 233.5 as a result.

The Blazers have been incredibly bad lately, losing seven of their last nine games. During that span, they’ve ranked 23rd in the league with a -4.9 point differential, sitting 11th on offense and a disappointing 26th on defense.

It’s hard to blame Lillard (or CJ McCollum) for the troubles, however. Take a look at the on/off differentials for the Blazers guys who have played at least 100 minutes this season:

  • CJ McCollum: +18.5
  • Damian Lillard: +13.7
  • Skal Labissiere: +7.0
  • Mario Hezonja: +3.5
  • Hassan Whiteside: +1.7
  • Nassir Little: -0.5
  • Rodney Hood: -1.7
  • Kent Bazemore: -8.2
  • Anfernee Simons: -10.1
  • Anthony Tolliver: -17.1

Man is that bench bad. The Blazers have tried to stagger McCollum and Lillard, playing McCollum at the beginning of the second and fourth quarters when Dame takes his breaks, but it hasn’t really mattered. Even with McCollum as the playmaker in those units, they’ve been awful.

And now it’s just McCollum tonight. The most-used lineup without him this season, which includes CJ, has posted a -15.8 Net Rating. That unit has scored just 100.0 points/100 possessions.

It’s been incredibly mid-range heavy, as it’s relied on McCollum to manufacture shots for himself out of thin air. It’s not going to be pretty for the Blazers offense tonight, even against a subpar New Orleans defense.

We will get the debut of Carmelo Anthony, but he’s been in the top 50 percentile of on/off defense metrics just twice in his 17-year career. If he’s going to operate the offense for the bench unit in Night 1 of his Blazers career, first of all that could be ugly, and second it’s likely to slow down the pace, which leads value to the under yet again.

I think there’s value down to Pels +1, and I’d bet the under down to 230.

The PICK: Pelicans +4 (I wouldn’t bet past +1) | Blazers-Pelicans under 233.5 (I wouldn’t bet past 230)

[In New Jersey, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at DraftKings]

Brandon Anderson: Trail Blazers at Pelicans

Everyone loves a nice feel-good comeback story, and perhaps that’s why the Carmelo Anthony saga has been so interesting. Anthony makes his Trail Blazers debut tonight wearing jersey 00, in honor of the exact number of minutes NBA teams have bothered playing him over the last calendar year.

We have no way to know how much Melo will play in his debut after a full year away from professional basketball. Anthony averaged a career low 13.4 points and 29.4 minutes a game playing 10 games for Houston last year, scoring single digits in six of those games. Even with only Nassir Little and Skal Labissiere standing in the way of his playing time, it’s really tough to see Melo approaching those minutes tonight.

Maybe it’s a dream debut, but the truth is there are just so many more ways to go under. Maybe Melo barely plays. Maybe the shot doesn’t fall. Maybe he can’t move and gets quickly played off the court in a key road game for the Blazers.

Whatever the outcome, if Melo is gonna get paid, we might as well too. If the books think Melo has even odds at scoring double digits after a year on the sidelines, that’s a fade all day every day. Our Player Prop tool rates this a 10 out of 10 prop and projects Melo at 6.4 points.

The PICK: Carmelo Anthony under 9.5 points +100  [In New Jersey, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at DraftKings]

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