Trail Blazers vs. Clippers NBA Odds & Picks: Los Angeles Has Value With or Without Kawhi Leonard
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images.
- The Los Angeles Clippers are 3.5-point favorites over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
- Should bettors back the Clippers regardless of Kawhi Leonard's status for this Western Conference showdown?
Trail Blazers vs. Clippers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-157 / +128 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||226.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
After the Clippers suffered their worst loss in franchise history, a 51-point drubbing at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, Paul George took full responsibility. While the Clips were missing the services of Kawhi Leonard (mouth laceration) and Marcus Morris (knee soreness), losing 124-73 is certainly not acceptable for a team with championship aspirations.
Nonetheless they responded Tuesday Night with a blowout win of their own, a 124-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves and hope to keep the momentum going as they take on the Portland Trailblazers who are coming off a 115-107 upset of the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers. Oddsmakers have installed the Clippers as 3.5-point favorites with a total of 226.5.
So where does the betting value lie? Let’s find out!
Portland Trail Blazers
After opening the season with a 120-100 home loss against the Utah Jazz, the Blazers have won two straight with victories over the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. Due to Covid-19 travel protocols, the Blazers have been in Los Angeles since the weekend and they should be well rested after playing the Lakers Monday night.
This year’s Portland Trailblazers aren’t much different from any other Blazers team we’ve seen during the Damian Lillard Era. They have a top-tier offense, scoring 111.4 points per 100 possessions — 10th among NBA teams.
After opening the season with a 4-for-12 shooting night for just nine points, Lillard quickly found his rhythm and has put up games of 32 points, nine assists, and five rebounds against the Rockets and 31 points, five assists and four rebounds against the Lakers.
This roster is full of shooters with Lillard leading the charge along with CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr, Rodney Hood and Anfernee Simons all converting better than league average from 3-point range. According to Cleaning The Glass, the Blazers are shooting the fifth-highest percentage of 3-point field goal attempts (40.3%) while making the ninth-highest percentage (38.5%).
Like any other year, this Blazers team struggles to defend, allowing 113 points per 100 possessions — ranking 26th among NBA teams. The Blazers are below average in giving up shots at the rim and is allowing the eighth highest effective field goal percentage (56.2%) to opposing offenses. Their drop coverage is particularly problematic against a team like the Clippers who have shooters who can consistently knock down the three.
According to NBA.com, Portland’s starting lineup (Lillard/McCollum/Covington/Jones/Nurkic) has a negative net rating this season, sitting at -8.9, and boasts a defensive rating of 119.6 in 68 minutes of play this season.
Even more problematic are the units in which Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter share the front court as they have a -22.2 net rating and a defensive rating of 114.8 in 40 minutes of play this season.
Between the defensive personnel and the scheme, the Blazers will likely find themselves in a ton of shootouts and their path to victory involves out shooting the opposition.
Check out our free NBA odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game. Subscribe to our new NBA Insiders tool at FantasyLabs to beat the market with our cutting edge player projections, injury news and betting thresholds.
Los Angeles Clippers
Aside from their performance against the Mavs, in which the Clippers went 26-for-76 from the floor and 4-for-33 from behind the arc, Los Angeles has looked like the championship contender we thought it was last season.
The Clippers dismantled the defending World Champion Los Angeles Lakers on opening night and then avenged their Western Conference Semifinals loss to the Denver Nuggets on Christmas in a game that was never competitive.
Even without Leonard and Marcus Morris, the Clips bounced back from their 51-point blowout against the the Mavericks with a 23-point victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Leonard missed Tuesday night’s game with mouth laceration he suffered in their Christmas night game against the Nuggets while Marcus Morris has yet to play this season with a knee injury. Both are questionable coming into this matchup so be sure to track their injury status throughout the day.
Still, the Clippers have improved their roster after last season. Serge Ibaka has been a better replacement for Montrezl Harrell, who’s been a defensive liability both with the Clippers and Lakers while Nicolas Batum and Luke Kennard have proven to be solid role players this season.
Nonetheless, the Clippers are fifth in Offensive Rating, scoring 116.6 points per 100 possessions. If you were to remove their performance against the Mavericks, Clippers would have an Offensive Rating of 122.9 and even with their abysmal shooting performance in that game, the Clippers are still eighth in effective field goal percentage (57.2%).
Although the numbers don’t show it based on their performances against the Mavericks and Nuggets, this is still one of league’s best defenses and without a Montrezl Harrell to pick on in the pick-and-roll, we should see this unit improve throughout the year and well into the playoffs.
Overall, the Clippers are a championship contender, however their regular season performance will largely depend on how much they care to play and how much they choose to load manage their stars.
Trail Blazers-Clippers Pick
These are two teams in completely different weight classes. The Clippers are a championship contender while the Blazers are a treadmill playoff team that happens to have a star point guard. With or without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, I believe this line is short.
My projections with with Kawhi Leonard in the lineup make the Clippers -7.1, and without him in the lineup I’d set this spread at Clippers -4. As I’ve noted above, the Blazers are 26th in Defensive Rating and their starting lineup has a negative net rating.
This Blazers team went life-and-death with a depleted Rockets team without Eric Gordon, John Wall and Demarcus Cousins. James Harden and Christian Wood and a group of cast offs went toe-to-toe with them on their home court.
One of thing to keep in mind is that, the Clippers and Blazers played on August 8th in the NBA Bubble. Despite the absence of Kawhi Leonard and former head coach Doc Rivers benching his starters down the stretch, the Clippers won 122-117. Both teams have made changes to their roster since, but I believe the Clippers have gotten better.
The Clippers are on a back-to-back but none of their starters played more than 29 minutes with the game getting out of hand. Keep an eye out for injury news for Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris but I’d recommend betting the Clippers -3.5 and I would play this up to -4.
Should Leonard and/or Morris be announced in, you’d be getting the best of the number. If they aren’t, I still believe you have some value laying the points with the better team.
The Bet: Clippers -3.5