NBA Western Conference Betting Preview: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers

LaMarcus-Aldridge-blazers-98New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 10 PM ET, Dec 21, 2013
Spread: POR -8.5
M/L: POR -380; NOP +315
O/U: 208.5

Odds courtesy of 5dimes

The New Orleans Pelicans are 11-13 on the season despite a young collection of talent that may eventually blossom into a contending team. The Pelicans’ opponent tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers, made that leap from fringe playoff team to contender seemingly over night, by adding a couple of key players over the offseason and continuing to blossom. Damian Lillard and the Blazers will find themselves 8.5-point favorites over the visiting Pelicans in NBA action on Saturday night.

New Orleans leased its future on draft night by trading its 2014 lottery pick to Philadelphia as part of the move to acquire All-Star Jrue Holiday, and thus far it has only partially worked out. Holiday’s numbers have regressed from last season, but he’s still averaging 15.1 points and 8.1 assists per game, and the team has to feel good having a franchise-type point guard after using Grevious Vasquez last season.

Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis have developed into a nice inside-outside tandem this season. Anderson is thriving in much the way he did playing alongside Dwight Howard and he leads the team with 21.4 points per game. Davis shot 10-of-18 in his first game back against the Clips, to finish with 24 points and 12 boards. He averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per game and quickly becoming one of the best big men in the game. So, while the future is bright for the Hornets, tonight’s test will be a lot more difficult.

Portland dropped its last contest 120-109 to Minnesota, which was the second game of a back-to-back for the Blazers. It was just its fifth loss in 27 games and the team ranks atop most major statistical categories, ranking 1st in the league in scoring (108.3 points per game), 3rd in rebounding (46 per game), and 5th in assists (23.5).

The Blazers are a team built on two superstars in Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, but the team has a plethora of underrated role players that have played a big factor in its hot start. Wes Matthews is a deadeye shooter; Nicolas Batum a great two-way versatile forward; and Robin Lopez a strong body on the interior.

The team will look to continue to build on its momentum this season and add some spare parts after the season to shore up its lack of depth—which has been much less problematic this season than last.

New Orleans Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 on 2 days rest; OVER 6-1 in last 7 Saturday games; OVER 5-1 in last 6 vs team with winning SU record.

Portland Trends: OVER 4-0 in last 4 after allowing 100 points or more in previous game; 4-0 ATS in last 4 following SU loss; OVER 7-1 in last 8 playing on 2 days rest.

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