NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Picks & Betting Predictions

Kent BazemoreThere have been several teams this NBA season that have performed different compared to expectations. Both the 7-23 New Orleans Pelicans and 14-16 Portland Trail Blazers have had disappointing campaigns. Each will try to make headway today as they clash in a nationally televised game (10pm ET Monday on NBA TV).

The Pelicans have been hit hard by injuries but there is absolutely no excuse for exactly how bad they have played. New Orleans isn’t playing together on either end of the floor and has now lost 14 of its last 15 games. While Brandon Ingram has had a career year, Derrick Favors, Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday have all been disappointing.

The Blazers are on a four-game winning streak right now and are generally heading in the right direction. Portland’s defensive chemistry is coming together and star guard C.J. McCollum is heating up offensively.

How will the game play out in Portland? Here we will give a full preview, culminating with our New Orleans Pelicans vs Portland Trail Blazers predictions in an attempt to get the better of the American friendly bookies.

Will New Orleans Guards Show Up on Defense?

The Pelicans won the first meeting between these teams this season but Blazers superstar Damian Lillard didn’t play. This game will be a new challenge for New Orleans as a result. A similar effort from the squad probably won’t cut it this time.

In New Orleans’ only win in the past month, the big key for the squad was limiting the opposing backcourt. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting guards of Jeff Teague and Josh Okogie shot a combined 2-of-15 from the field and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line. This makes sense, since the Pelicans do have some strong individual defenders on the perimeter such as Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

It is basically impossible that a backcourt as talented as the Blazers’ Lillard and McCollum will combine for just two field goals in the entire game. However, if they can be held to 40 points combined rather than 60 points combined, the Pelicans will have a great chance to win.

Will Kent Bazemore Put His Imprint On Game for Blazers?

Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Rodney Hood are out for the season for Portland. Mario Hezonja and Carmelo Anthony are both dealing with minor injuries and could be out or limited for the Blazers.

Because of those injuries and some lackluster depth, the Blazers are having to give Bazemore big minutes at the small forward position. He has logged at least 29 minutes in six of his last seven contests after reaching that number just three times in his first 23 games.

Bazemore is an athletic 30-year-old wing who struggles with consistency and shot selection, but he is an excellent role player who is at his best when he focuses on defensive playmaking and playing off the ball on offense.

Portland doesn’t need Bazemore to take more than 10 shots in this game or handle the ball much on offense. The team would love a stat line of something like 12 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks from the veteran wing.

Can Pelicans Pound Offensive Glass?

New Orleans isn’t a great rebounding team but the Pelicans have started to pick up some ground in that area recently. They have outrebounded their opponents in their last four games after being outrebounded in seven consecutive games prior to that.

If there’s one area where New Orleans could have a big advantage over Portland in this game, it is with offensive rebounding. The Blazers’ frontcourt is just so banged up right now and outside of interior beast Hassan Whiteside, the team is undersized at lots of different positions.

Look for Pelicans players such as Derrick Favors, Jaxson Hayes, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball to use their positional size to their advantage and grab some rebounds, especially on the offensive end.

Our Preview’s New Orleans Pelicans vs Portland Trail Blazers Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict

The Blazers’ current four-game winning streak is impressive but they haven’t been dominating teams. The Pelicans have also been close in many of their losses.

I expect a very close game that actually could go either way, since New Orleans seems to match up well with Portland. The Pelicans have good individual defenders at the guard spots to keep Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in check and the Pelicans are long enough to win the rebounding battle by a decent margin if the effort is there. These are our New Orleans Pelicans vs Portland Trail Blazers predictions for this NBA game:

  • The Trail Blazers are favored by 6 points. I recommend taking the odds on the Pelicans +6 pts @ best odds of -105 with Bovada. Next best is -107 with 5Dimes.
  • This appears to be more of a high-scoring game on paper because both squads are better on offense than defense and play a reasonably fast pace. However, because of the Blazers’ injuries and the Pelicans’ potential rebound advantage, the total could end up lower than expected. Bet the under 230.5 total points @ -110 with Bookmaker.