NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: The Portland Trail Blazers Are Back

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Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Check out this post for updated season win total odds for all 30 NBA teams.


Portland Trail Blazers Win Total Odds

2023-23 Win Total
39.5
Previous Season's Wins
27

The Case for the Over

  • Fully Healthy Damian Lillard
  • Roster Upside
  • Play the Number Not the Team

Damian Lillard is back, and he’s finally healthy. Lillard has been dealing with an abdominal injury for years. It's crazy how good he's been despite it, but he finally had it addressed and is back to full health.

There's a good chance Lillard makes noise in the MVP conversation, at least in the periphery. Having Lillard back is a major upgrade, obviously, but his track record here matters, too.

From 2013-14 to 2018-19, the Blazers won more than the current 40.5 mark every season. Then the 2019-20 season was interrupted by COVID. The Trail Blazers were behind the mark that season but might have made their typical late-season run under Terry Stotts.

They went over again in 2020-21, and then last season, when Dame got hurt, things fell apart. That’s a really well-established track record in the Lillard era of going over .500.

The Blazers have an established starting five with Jerami Grant joining via trade, along with Anthony Simons, who made a huge leap last season, and Josh Hart, who they added in the CJ McCollum trade.

Their bench has a lot of unknown value. Shaedon Sharpe is a rookie even the most dedicated draftniks had a hard time accurately evaluating. Nassir Little, Jabari Walker, Trendon Watford all have some value essentially because their inherent value to the number is small enough that anything positive helps and anything negative won’t meaningfully warrant a downgrade.

Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Anfernee Simons #1 and Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers.

For me the real value here is on the number. This is a sub-.500 mark for a team with a top-10 superstar and clear intentions to win.

Let’s focus on their numbers. The Blazers tanked as hard as any team you ever saw last season after trading McCollum, Norman Powell, and Robert Covington. The result was a 20.8 Pythagorean expected win mark, meaning they should have won 20.8 instead of their actual mark of 27.

The common thought goes that teams who outperform their expected win total like this should be prime candidates to regress. The numbers over the last 10 years don’t say that.

Teams with an expected win differential of more than 1.6 (70th percentile) over the last 10 seasons have gone 29-24-1 (53.7%) to the over. Of those teams, ones that were bottom-10 in Offensive Rating (per Cleaning The Glass) went 10-6 (62.5%) the over.

Can this number be effectively capped? Can you evaluate how much better the Blazers should be with Lillard and a fresh roster? There's a new front office that has brought better vibes. Head coach Chauncey Billups actually managed a pretty rough situation well last year until they pivoted to the tank.

There are unknowns here, but the likelihood is that the initial line was set with a cautious mindset that was too tied to last year’s anchors, which are all irrelevant. This team was purposefully horrible last year. They’ll be intentionally competitive this year.


The Case for the Under

  • The Defense
  • Razor Thin Depth
  • Tipping Point Team

The Blazers won’t be good defensively. Sorry, they just won’t be.

The Blazers have a very simple two-pronged problem:

  1. Jusuf Nurkic can't play pick and roll defense at the level or in switch; he needs to play drop where he's actually effective.
  2. Lillard can’t play drop coverage because he can’t get over the screen.

So teams can just  1-5 pick-and-roll the Blazers to death. Grant and Hart can help from the corners in that coverage like Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso helped Chicago last year with the same problem, but not enough.

Throw in Anfernee Simons and his defensive issues being now part of the starting unit, and teams can pick on the Blazers consistently.

This is going to be a bottom-15 defense, likely a bottom-10.

The bottom 10 defensive teams have gone 55-21 (76%) to the under in the last 10 years. The bottom 10 defensive teams with a win total of 35 or more are 25-8 to the under.

The over section makes the argument that the rest of the roster is basically a mystery box. “There could be anything on the bench, even NBA players!” OK, but the more likely outcome is that these are fringe NBA players for a reason.

A good indicator of depth honestly does lie in the preseason. The Blazers lost their first two preseason games to teams with better depth: the Clippers and Pelicans. Injuries are going to cause significant downgrades at multiple positions.

Teams that won fewer than 30 games and then have a win total above 35 are 8-4 to the under in the last 10 years. Not a lot of teams fall into those parameters. The win total for the Blazers is 13 games higher their win total from last season, regardless of how hard they tanked. Teams with a win total six or more games higher than their previous season wins are 15-8 to the under in the last 10 seasons.

Trail Blazers Win Total Bet

The over needs to be the play. I thought this would be one of my stronger over plays, but I’m downgrading it from a five-unit (max) to a three-unit play based on the defensive factor.

I still think the number is soft, especially below 40. BetMGM and PointsBet have the number at 39.5 and plus-money at the time of writing. BetRivers and WynnBet have it at 38.5.

Being sub-39 wins in the West means you are essentially not competitive. There’s very little reason to believe the Blazers won’t be competitive.

The NBA middle class is likely to get squeezed this year as teams pivot to tanking, but Portland is absolutely positioned to compete to the end. There’s value over.

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