New Year’s Day NBA Odds & Picks for Trail Blazers vs. Warriors: Fireworks Should Be On Deck for Friday’s Bay Area Battle
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.
- Both the Warriors and Blazers have struggled this season, but one of these teams will get to 3-2 after Friday's matchup.
- With two questionable defenses in the house, Brandon Anderson breaks down why the over has some value in the Warriors' home opener below.
Trail Blazers vs. Warriors Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Warriors Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-162/ +136 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||231 [BET NOW]|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
Anytime Damian Lillard returns home to the Bay Area for a matchup against Stephen Curry and the Warriors, we can expect fireworks.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been up and down this season. They started with an 20-point home loss to the Jazz, outlasted a short-handed Houston Rockets team in overtime, beat up on the reigning champs at Staples Center, then lost to the Clippers Wednesday night in a blowout.
The Warriors followed a similar early pattern: back-to-back blowouts to start the season against the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, presumably two of the best teams in the league, followed by a Damion Lee game-winning 3 to beat the Chicago Bulls and a comfortable win over the Detroit Pistons to reach .500.
The naysayers were out quickly on both these clubs, but each team is 2-2 and feeling just fine after tough early schedules. So which team will get to 3-2?
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have not been particularly good so far. Expectations were high entering the season after they improved their forward rotation by adding Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., along with the presumed healthy return of Jusuf Nurkic — and the subtraction of Hassan Whiteside.
The defense, however, has been particularly bad as they adjusts to a new scheme. The Blazers rank near the bottom of the league in Defensive Efficiency, turnovers forced, and effective Field Goal percentage allowed.
The Trail Blazers offense has been better but not as good as we’e have come to expect. Even after all the additions and machinations, this team is still heavily reliant on Lillard and C.J. McCollum to do everything on offense.
Nurkic has not looked whole and hasn’t put up numbers, and Portland just doesn’t have much other offense in its endless quest to find defenders to play with their star guards. The bench has been especially poor with Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter playing matador for opposing bench units.
Portland is a team that traditionally makes a strong second-half push as the season moves along, so this is not a team to count out long term.
Golden State Warriors
Through Wednesday, the Warriors ranked dead last in Basketball Reference’s SRS overall ranking, and the Warriors could pretty easily be 0-4 and staring down the barrel of another long season.
Draymond Green will be out again and Curry hasn’t been as sharp without his usual teammates; the rest of the Warriors’ supporting cast has disappointed.
Rookie James Wiseman had some eye-popping highlights and dunks, but looks lost at times on both ends. Andrew Wiggins is scoring but shooting under 37% from the field, though that looks practically sparkling next to Kelly Oubre’s abysmal 26%. If the Warriors have any hope of a good season, they’ll need better play from those two wings.
The Warriors’ bench has actually been solid so far. Damion Lee has been especially good and had that game-winner, while Eric Paschall, Brad Wanamaker and others have done fine in bench roles. But the starting unit is getting run off the court. The Warriors have made just 45% of their 2s, a horrendous percentage that ranks last in the NBA along with their 47% eFG%.
The Warriors are getting hammered on the boards on both ends, and they’re giving up far too easy looks defensively. Maybe things will change once Green returns and the wings bounce back, but right now the Warriors are flat out bad. They’re basically relying on Curry to have a huge shooting night, and even then they’ve only beaten other bad teams.
Trail Blazers-Warriors Pick
You could have convinced most bystanders that this was a second-round playoff preview a couple weeks ago, but right now these teams look more like play-in contenders.
One key battle here will be the pace. The Warriors are playing at the fastest pace in the league, through Wednesday, while the Blazers rank in the bottom 10. Warriors games are averaging 235 points this season, but even with the slower pace, Portland games are at 232 points so far.
I’m not confident enough to back either team, but I’m willing to bet on bad defense and Golden State’s pace, and maybe we’ll even luck into another Lillard-Curry showdown like we’ve seen in the Bay so many times before.
I’ll play the over 231 and hope the bad defenses on both sides make for a lot of easy buckets. I’ll play to 232.5.
Pick: Over 231