Portland at Boston Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Friday,January 20, 2017 8:11, EST in

It’s a matchup of two of the best point guards in the NBA on Saturday night when the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas square off. Both are All-Stars. It’s the only visit to Boston this season for Portland and it will be a solid underdog in NBA betting.

Portland at Boston Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, Jan. 21, 5 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston
TV: NBA League Pass
Stream: NBA TV
RadioPortland / Boston
NBA Odds: Celtics favored by TBA

Why Bet on Portland?

This will be the second of a back-to- back for Portland is visiting Philadelphia on Friday night on a three game losing streak. Portland’s Lillard and CJ McCollum are both in the top-15 for scoring this season, and tonight they have joined Kevin Durant and Steph Curry as the only teammate tandem with 1,000 points on the season.

Lillard is one of three NBA players to make at least 900 3-pointers in his first five seasons in league history. Lillard scored a game-high 34 points against Orlando on Jan. 13, marking the 13th time this season that he has scored at least 30 points. Lillard, who has the sixth-most games of 30+ points in the NBA this season, ranks fourth on the Trail Blazers franchise list.

McCollum scored at least 25 points in a career-best eight consecutive games from Dec. 28 to Jan. 13, placing him in a tie with Geoff Petrie for the third longest such streak in franchise history. McCollum became the first Trail Blazer to score at least 25 points in eight consecutive games since Clyde Drexler did so in nine straight games from Nov. 20 to Dec. 6, 1987. McCollum’s streak is also the second-longest in the NBA this season.

At the halfway point of the NBA season, the Trail Blazers ranked sixth in the NBA in scoring at 108.1 points per game. That is 6.9 ppg more than where the team was at last season (101.2 ppg), when Portland ranked 15th in the league in scoring through 41 games. The Trail Blazers made at least 12 3-pointers 20 times at the halfway point this season, after having done so 12 times in their first 41 games of 2015-16.

Portland has forced 15 or more turnovers in five of their past nine games after doing so 10 times in their first 34 games. Portland has blocked a season-high nine shots on five occasions in 2016-17, including three times in the past four games. Portland has held its opponent to less than 100 points in six of its past 13 games, and is 8-3 when doing so this season.

Why Bet on Boston?

The Celtics will be much better-rested as they last played Wednesday and were upset 117-106 at home by the Knicks to end a three-game winning streak. Boston hadn’t lost to an inferior opponent since a home loss to Detroit on Nov. 30. The Celtics were 16-7 after that while losing only to teams ahead of them in the standings (Toronto x2, Oklahoma City x2, San Antonio, Houston, Cleveland).

Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Thomas came in averaging 10.1 points in the fourth quarter this season, the highest mark since NBA.com began tracking the stat in 1997-98. Thomas has scored at least 20 points in 26 straight games, which is the longest such streak of his NBA career. Only two other players in Celtics franchise history have recorded such streaks (John Havlicek – team record 40 games) and Kevin McHale (30 games from April to December in 1986).

Havlicek had multiple streaks of 19 or more games in his career. In the past three NBA seasons only Thomas, Kevin Durant (72 game streak from November 2015 to November 2016) and James Harden (25 game streak from March to November 2016) are the only players to have streaks of 20 games or longer.

Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games. Al Horford, Boston’s big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of- 14 shooting. He was 1 for 8 on 3-point attempts. Guard Avery Bradley was a late scratch with a sore right Achilles after warming up. He played Monday, but had missed the previous four games after straining the same Achilles.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said it’s likely he’ll miss more time to fully recover. “I can see him missing a little bit more time,” said Stevens. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early.” Bradley was having his best season. Marcus Smart will continue to start. He started on Wednesday and notched four points, five assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 32 minutes vs. the Knicks.

Portland at Boston Expert Pick: Boston Celtics

Portland and Boston split last year, each team winning at home and scoring 116 points doing so. I’ll take the Celtics here on NBA odds, especially with the Blazers playing a second game in 24 hours.