The Los Angeles Clippers (12-9) take on the Portland Trail Blazers (11-9). Tipoff is scheduled for pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Clippers-Blazers prediction and pick.
Los Angeles enters tonight winners of four of their last six games and sits in fifth place in the Western Conference. The Clippers are 10-11 against the spread while 76% of their games have gone under. Portland finds themselves seventh in the West despite losing five of their last six. The Trail Blazers are 13-7 against the spread while 61% of their games have gone under. This will be the first of three games between the teams this season. LA won three of four meetings between the teams last season.
Here are the Clippers-Blazers NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Clippers-Blazers Odds
Los Angeles Clippers: +3.5 (-106)
Portland Trail Blazers: -3.5 (-114)
Over: 211 (-110)
Under: 211 (-110)
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
Despite battling injuries, the Clippers have easily been the best team in LA thus far and are in a solid position to make the playoffs. The Clippers have accomplished this through a defense-first mentality. LA ranks second in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. They’ve been an above-average rebounding team as they hold the 12th-best rebounding differential and 11th-ranked rebound rate. The Clippers really struggle on offense, however, as they rank last in points per game and 29th in offensive efficiency.
Offensively, the Clippers will be without both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. This opens up a lot of opportunities for their role players to step up. Forward Marcus Morris has been the most consistent option outside of George this season. Morris ranks second on the team in scoring with 14.6 PPG while also contributing 5.0 RPG. He’s been remarkably efficient despite the enhanced workload. Morris shoots 48% from the field and 39.4% from beyond the arc. He’s scored at least 10 points in all but two games this season and is a sure bet to fill the box score tonight.
While Morris should provide a stable floor for LA, he doesn’t have the explosive potential that Clippers’ backers are looking for when predicting them to cover. If LA is looking for explosive offense, they need to look no further than starting center Ivica Zubac. Zubac averages just 10.5 PPG but leads the team with 11.6 RPG and 1.9 BPG. He has been inconsistent on offense when everyone is healthy – primarily serving as a rim-runner and fisher. That being said, Zubac is coming off the best game of his NBA career. In their most recent win over Indiana, Zubac scored 31 points and pulled down an eye-popping 29 rebounds. Zubac was one rebound away from having the fourth 30-point, 30-rebound game in the last 40 years. He’s unlikely to repeat such a historic performance tonight but his ability to control the game from the paint is certainly worth keeping in mind.
Why The Trail Blazers Could Cover The Spread
Similarly to their counterparts, Portland has battled injuries and offensive consistency despite their solid record. The Trail Blazers rank 23rd in scoring and 15th in offensive efficiency. They are a solid rebounding team that ranks 20th in rebounding differential and 10th in rebound rate. Portland really shines on defense. The Trail Blazers rank ninth in points allowed and 19th in defensive efficiency.
If Portland is going to cover as home favorites, they’re going to need to score against one of the league’s stingiest defenses. With star guard Damian Lillard out, that load has largely fallen on the shoulders of Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons. Grant averages 21.5 points while Simons averages 23.2 points. While they both shoot over 40% from the field, Grant’s efficiency is particularly note-worthy. The forward shoots 47.5% from the field but remarkably is even better from beyond the arc. Grant makes 48.2% of his three-pointers – good for second in the league among starters. He’s coming off a 29-point performance against the Nets that was somehow a disappointment compared to the previous showing.
The dynamic duo has proven to be able to carry games for the Blazers in Lillard’s absence. Against the Knicks last week Grant and Simons had one of the best two-man performances in recent memory. Grant scored 44 points on 10-20 shooting while Simons scored 38 himself on 13-25 shooting. While they are unlikely to replicate that kind of production, their ability to turn things up a notch and take over games is something to keep in mind when making a Clippers-Trail Blazers prediction.
Final Clippers-Blazers Prediction & Pick
While I do see some value in the Clippers +3.5, this matchup screams under. Both teams struggle to score consistently and are solid defensive units. I could see this with a total of under 200.
Final Clippers-Blazers Prediction & Pick: Under 211 (-110)