Suns vs. Trail Blazers Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can Struggling Offenses Turn Things Around? (Dec. 14)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard.
- The Suns are slight favorites on Tuesday night against the Trail Blazers.
- Portland has struggled this season under new coach Chauncey Billups, but Phoenix is a bit banged up.
- Jacob McKenna breaks down the game and gives his top pick below.
Suns vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+2.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Phoenix Suns will continue their road trip up the west coast on Tuesday night when they travel to Portland to take on the Trailblazers.
Phoenix began said road trip on Monday with a 111-95 loss to the Clippers, and now enter this matchup sitting in second in the Western Conference at 21-5. Meanwhile, Portland is just 11-16 this season and has lost five straight games.
Both teams are dealing with some injuries to key players, but Phoenix will be even more shorthanded.
Can the Suns overcome all of their injuries and the back-to-back, or will Portland finally get back on track and snap out of their losing streak?
Suns Banged Up, Need Offensive Answers
The Phoenix Suns are once again one of the top teams in the Western Conference, but this matchup could pose some issues for them.
The biggest reason that Phoenix might struggle is because they are riddled with injuries. Two of their stars, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, are both listed as out for this game, and Frank Kaminsky, Abdel Nader, Dario Saric, and Jalen Smith will likely all miss this matchup.
We got a small glimpse of what the Suns would look like with all of those guys out when they faced the Clippers on Monday, and it was not pretty.
The Suns are down to one center, and that guy is JaVale McGee. That means we saw them often play small ball, putting Cam Johnson and Jae Crowder at center while McGee was on the bench. That style of play did not work out too well for them, as they shot 38% from the floor overall and 24% from behind the arc while allowing L.A. to shoot 55% overall and 43% from deep. However, it appears they might not have much of a choice other than to return to that kind of lineup in this one.
When healthy, the Suns are easily on of the NBA’s most well-rounded teams. They are extremely efficient on offense, shooting 47.7% overall and 36.9% form deep this year, and they are third in Defensive Rating this season.
However, it is clear that they are not anywhere close to being at full-strength, and I think the back-to-back and the injury bug will keep them from reaching their true potential in this one.
Trail Blazers Offense Can’t Support its Poor Defense
The Portland Trail Blazers have been playing bad basketball as of late, and it is mostly because they simply cannot keep anyone in front of them.
During their five-game losing streak, the Blazers have a point differential of -86, and in that span they have given up 116.2 points per game.
Not only has defense been an issue as of late, it has been a problem for Portland all season. Coming into this matchup, the Blazers are 28th in the NBA in Defensive Rating according to NBA Advanced Stats, surrendering 112.6 points per 100 possessions. They have also allowed their opponents to shoot 47.2% from the field overall and 38.2% from behind the arc this season, two more defensive metrics in which they find themselves in the bottom three.
Portland has struggled on defense for many seasons now, but it usually makes up for it on offense. However, that is not the case this season.
The Trail Blazers offense has been relatively average. They rank 14th overall in Offensive Rating, scoring 109.4 points per 100 possessions, down from 117.1 a year ago. They are shooting just 45.3% from the floor and 34.8% from three, and they are scoring an average of 99 points per game over their last five games.
Part of the reason for their lack of success recently has been the injury to CJ McCollum, but he will once again miss this matchup. Cody Zeller will be on the bench with him as he manages a knee injury, and Greg Brown is a game time decision.
Suns-Trail Blazers Pick
Neither of these teams is in a great spot coming into this game, which is pushing me away from looking at the spread and instead eyeing the total.
Phoenix has played in a back-to-back five times this season, and in those five games they have scored less than 105 points in three of them. In addition, Phoenix has seen a total of less than 218 in six straight games, and the under is a perfect 4-0 when Phoenix is coming off a loss and is 16-10 overall, per our data at Bet Labs.
As for Portland, they are just 2-8 in their last 10 games and, as previously mentioned, have scored an average of just 99 points in their last five games.
Both of these squads have some injury issues and a back-to-back for Phoenix only makes things worse. It’s likely we see a low scoring contest in this one.
Pick: Total under 218 (-110)
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