NBA Picks: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Philadelphia 76ers at Portland Trail Blazers
Monday, 12/26/11, 10:00 PM EST, TV:  N/A
Opening Point Spread:  Portland -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Portland -4.5
Opening Total:  189
Current Total:  189
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Portland Trail Blazers will lean heavily on LaMarcus Aldridge during the 2011-12 season

Philadelphia opens its 2011-12 campaign in the Pacific Northwest and has split seven of the past eight season series with Portland.  The 76ers played two preseason games against the Washington Wizards to get tuned up for the shortened regular season.  It was a successful set of games, outscoring Washington by a 102-86 margin in those contests, shooting 46.3 percent from the floor.  Forward Andre Iguodala is still the leader of the team, averaging 14.1 points, 6.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds last season.  Philadelphia is 12-8 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points the last two years.

The 76ers will start the season with an unprecedented five straight road games, as the previous franchise high was three games.  Twelve of the 15 players who were on the roster last season have returned, accounting for 99.5 percent of the team’s scoring.  Philadelphia registered a 38-28 record over its final 66 games after starting the 2010-11 season with a 3-13 record.  The 76ers finished last year with a 15-26 road record during the regular season, but won 10 of its final 18 games away from the City of Brotherly Love.

Portland will open the season against an Eastern Conference opponent for the first time since the 1991-92 season.  Both the Blazers and 76ers averaged 94.5 points in last season’s two meetings.  It was an interesting offseason for the Trail Blazers, as the franchise said goodbye to star guard Brandon Roy, who retired due to suffering from chronic knee problems.  Forward LaMarcus Aldridge figures to be a leader for this team, averaging a team-high 21.8 points last season.  Portland is 6-15 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points the last two years.

The Trail Blazers will play their first back-to-back of the season Tuesday night, taking on the Sacramento Kings, winning nine of the last 10 games in that particular series.  Portland played its two preseason games against the Utah Jazz, registering a 110-90 win at the Rose Garden on Dec. 19—before dropping a 92-89 decision two days later in Salt Lake City.  Portland is 30-11 all-time in home openers, including 10 straight home opening wins, each against a different opponent dating back to 2001.

Bettors will likely back the Blazers due to their 9-3-1 ATS mark versus the Eastern Conference, while the 76ers are 10-10 ATS versus Northwest division opponents.

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