We’ve got a very busy NBA card on Monday night, as there are an NBATV doubleheader and nine additional games on the slate. It seems like a fortunate turn of events, given that the Monday Night Football game has the potential to be a dud and we won’t have a college basketball Monday for another two weeks.
Check out some NBA situational betting tips for the entire week in the NBA and also keep an eye out for our How to Bet previews over the course of the week. This preview in particular will focus on the local TV matchup between the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs.
The Blazers are dealing with some injuries to bigs. Zach Collins has a dislocated shoulder and he’s likely to miss a few weeks. He is going for an MRI today. Jusuf Nurkic remains out from last season’s grizzly injury and won’t be back until 2020. Pau Gasol remains out indefinitely, but he is inching towards a return.
The Spurs are healthy, wealthy, and presumably wise under the tutelage of HOFer Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs are favored by anywhere from 4 points to 5.5 points for this Monday night Western Conference clash. It is pretty interesting to see the disparity in lines here, though most of the market sits on 5.5. Interestingly, recreational books Bovada and MyBookie are holding the line at 4.5, which implies a sharp vs. public split in this one.
The total is at 220 and hasn’t moved much since the open.
What’s At Stake?
Not a ton, at least not right now, but all of these head-to-head games in the West will have future implications on seeding, tiebreakers, and the like. The Blazers are 2-1 on the year and 2-0 on this road trip. The Spurs are 2-0 for the season and have yet to leave home. They’ll do so following this game.
This wraps up a three-game homestand for the Spurs, who will visit the Staples Center and battle the Clippers on Thursday in the front end of a back-to-back. Portland is playing a third consecutive road game and this is a back-to-back with travel off of playing Dallas yesterday in a 121-119 victory. The Blazers wrap up the trip in OKC on Wednesday.
The Spurs are stepping up in class quite a bit here after hanging 244 points on the Wizards and Knicks in their first two games. Defensively, the Spurs have some things to figure out, as they allowed 233 points. The Blazers have also crossed 120 in each of their games since losing to Denver in the opener by a 108-100 count.
Without much of an interior presence, the Blazers are taking a ton of jump shots right now. Hassan Whiteside is playing a lot of minutes and has gotten his share of paint touches, but the Blazers are fifth in jump shots from 16 feet out to the three-point line. Fortunately, they are shooting 59.4% of those, which ranks third in the league.
The Spurs rank third in percentage of field goal attempts within three feet of the rim. The Blazers are eighth, largely due to the abilities of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to penetrate. San Antonio has taken the lowest percentage of three-point shots this season, something we also saw last year, even though they hit a very high percentage of them.
Based on the percentage of field goals allowed, the Spurs are content with teams shooting the mid-range jumper, as San Antonio and Utah are tied for highest percentage of shots from that 16-25 foot range.
This is a tough handicap. The Spurs like to get the ball into the interior, but Whiteside is an imposing presence. On the other hand, Dejounte Murray is one of the best on-ball defenders in the league and he’ll likely line up on Lillard and make his night hell. Of course, Lillard had 29, 37, 24, and 34 last season against the Spurs, so we’ll see if that is actually the case.
This looks like a lower-scoring affair to me. The Blazers have some regression coming in that mid-range game and the Spurs don’t take a whole lot of threes. If Whiteside gets into foul trouble, the Spurs should feast down low. Along with the under 220, I like the Spurs at the best price you can find. At time of writing, that is -4 at Bookmaker, but -4.5 or -5 will suffice.
With the weakened interior depth for the Blazers, expect another big night for LaMarcus Aldridge, who has 49 points in two games thus far. I would also look to play Spurs first quarter and first half. Lillard played 38 minutes last night and McCollum played 41. There really isn’t a whole lot of depth at present for Portland the horses have been ridden hard on this roadie.