The Brooklyn Nets (6-9) face the Portland Trail Blazers (10-4) on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 10 pm ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Nets-Blazers prediction and pick.
Brooklyn is 6-9 and currently sits in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are 6-9 against the spread while 60% of their games have gone under. Portland is 10-4 and currently sits in first place in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers are 11-3 against the spread while 67% of their games have gone under. The two teams met twice last season with each team defending their home court. Brooklyn won their game by five, while Portland won by six. Both of their two games went over tonight’s 220.5-point total.
Here are the Nets-Blazers NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Nets-Blazers Odds
Brooklyn Nets: +2.5 (-110)
Portland Trail Blazers: -2.5 (-110)
Over: 222 (-108)
Under: 222 (-112)
Why The Nets Could Cover The Spread
Brooklyn has had a disappointing start to the season and has lost two consecutive games coming into tonight. The Nets are an average offensive team (18th in scoring/15th in offensive efficiency) and an average defensive team (11th in points allowed/22nd in defensive efficiency). They’ve been destroyed on the glass, however, placing last in rebound differential and rebound rate. That being said, there is one aspect of their box score that will always give them a chance to cover the spread: Kevin Durant.
Durant has been exceptional this season despite his team’s poor record. The lengthy forward is seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 30.3 PPG. He’s also contributed elsewhere by amassing 6.5 RPG and 5.3 APG. For the season, Durant has solid percentages (52.4% from the field, 35.3% from three) and is doing his best to patch together Brooklyn’s defense. KD swipes 0.5 steals per game and blocks 1.5 shots per game. He has scored over 25 points in every game this season. In the Nets’ most recent outing, Durant still put up 27 points on 8-15 shooting despite his team losing by 32 points.
While Durant is putting together another incredible season, if Brooklyn wants to cover the spread tonight they are going to need someone else to step up. The Nets have gone 4-3 since Kyrie Irving was suspended and with him continuing to be out tonight, they will need their role players to continue to play well. In games Kyrie has missed, Brooklyn has relied on a balanced attack to support KD. Seven players have averaged between eight and 14 points since Kyrie’s suspension.
Second-year guard Cam Thomas has been the leading scorer outside of Durant since Kyrie’s suspension. The 6’3″ scorer averages 13.4 PPG without Kyrie but has been inefficient and streaky – shooting 41% from the field. He has shown the ability to play second-fiddle to KD – notably scoring 17, 21, and 19 points in his first three games in big minutes. Since then, however, he has cooled off and allowed fellow guard Seth Curry to take on a bigger role. Curry averages 11.6 PPG without Kyrie in the lineup but has begun to heat up as of late. He scored 22 points in two of their last three games – something to keep in mind when making a Nets-Trail Blazers prediction.
Why The Trail Blazers Could Cover The Spread
The Trail Blazers have been the surprise team of the first part of the season. Portland had plus odds to make the playoffs prior to the season but now find themselves with the best record in the Western Conference through 14 games. They’ve done so on the backs of an elite defense (sixth in points allowed/ seventh in defensive efficiency). Their offense is above average (22nd in scoring/ 12th in offensive efficiency) but they shoot the three at the third-best mark in the league.
Portland is led by their backcourt. Guards Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons pace the team in scoring, averaging 27.7 PPG and 22.3 PPG, respectively. The Nets are weak defensively on the perimeter – something the Blazers can take full advantage of. Lillard has been incredibly efficient this season with a 46% field goal percentage and 38% three-point percentage. He’s turning the ball over four times per game (not good) but is still averaging 6.6 assists per game. While Simons isn’t as efficient as his elder, he’s still shooting 42% from the field and is sufficient enough to allow ‘Dame to play off the ball – somewhere he excels.
The X-factor, though, is forward Jerami Grant. Grant averages 21.3 PPG on 50% shooting from the field and 49% from three. However, his biggest role will be defensive. Grant will match up with Kevin Durant and his play will likely determine whether or not Portland covers tonight.
Final Nets-Blazers Prediction & Pick
Portland is off to an incredible start and looks like one of the best teams in the league. Brooklyn is treading water. Ride the home favorites in a spread a few points too low thanks to the Nets’ name value.
Final Nets-Blazers Prediction & Pick: Portland Trail Blazers -2.5 (-110)