Wizards vs. Trail Blazers Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||-3|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Friday evening and via Bet365.|
The Wizards face the Trail Blazers Saturday night in Portland in a matchup between two of the hotter teams in the NBA. The Wizards have struggled this season, but they have won three straight games as All-Star starter Bradley Beal continues his torrential scoring, and Davis Bertans has found his stroke from beyond the arc.
The Trail Blazers have won six straight games and eight of their last nine overall. They have gotten players like Gary Trent Jr., Anfernee Simons and Enes Kanter to step up as have gone 10-5 while playing without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. The Trail Blazers beat the Wizards 132-121 on February 2 in Washington D.C.
If the Wizards hope to win their fourth straight game as an underdog, they need Bertans to continue his hot shooting. Thomas Bryant (torn ACL, out for the season) and Ish Smith (quadriceps) remain out.
After shooting 42.4% on threes last season, Bertans started off much slower this season. He showed up to training camp out of shape and started the season on a minutes restriction before getting COVID-19 in January, further keeping him out of rhythm.
Consequently, Bertans was just 34-of-104 (32.7%) on threes in December and January, but he has found his stroke this month, making 34-of-76 attempts (44.7%). Bertans is coming off of his two best shooting nights of the season as he made a combined 14-of-17 threes in the Wizards’ wins over the Rockets and the Nuggets. Bertans also scored a career-high 35 points in the win over the Nuggets on Wednesday.
Davis Bertans tonight:
The Latvian Laser is back 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iAlIIE7wJs
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 18, 2021
When the Wizards lost at home to the Trail Blazers earlier this month, Beal scored 37 points and Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double, but Bertans connected on only two of his 10 threes (his worst mark this month). The Wizards are better off if Bertans can fill that second scoring role behind Beal while Westbrook shoots less frequently and plays more as a distributor. If Bertans can keep shooting at a high level, the Wizards will have a great chance to pull the upset over the Trail Blazers and win their season-high fourth straight game.
Portland Trail Blazers
If the Trail Blazers win and cover as short favorites against the Wizards, it will be because Damian Lillard continues playing his best basketball and their secondary shooters to continue stepping up.
While Lillard was snubbed as an All-Star starter, he deserves to be in the MVP discussion for lifting the Trail Blazers into fourth place despite missing McCollum and Nurkic for the last 15 games. Lillard has scored at least 30 points in five of the last six games, including on Wednesday when he dropped 43 and scored the go-ahead three-point play with 16.5 seconds remaining to beat the Pelicans 126-124 in New Orleans.
Gary Trent Jr.’s last 5 games:
Certified sniper 🎯 pic.twitter.com/GK8YCCxNbU
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 19, 2021
While Lillard has been incredible, other players have stepped up too. Trent is averaging 19.9 points and shooting 46.2% on threes in 13 starts since McCollum went out. Simons is also shooting 46.2% on threes over that span while scoring 12.4 points per game. In 16 starts since Nurkic’s injury, Kanter has been a monster on the boards as he has averaged 12.6 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. Nassir Little and Carmelo Anthony have also provided timely scoring for the Trail Blazers lately.
The Trail Blazers have a plethora of shooters despite their injuries, and they will need to step up alongside Lillard in what should be a high-scoring game in a battle between Portland’s 28th-ranked defense and Washington’s 26th-ranked defense (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass).
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Wizards-Trail Blazers Pick
The Wizards opened as six-point underdogs, but the value on them has dissipated as they are just three-point underdogs on Bet365. At this number, I like the idea of selling high on the Wizards and backing the Trail Blazers.
While Beal leads the league in scoring, Lillard has been more efficient this season, and he will make a statement in his first game since being snubbed as an All-Star starter in favor of Luka Doncic. It might be Dame Time all game on Saturday.
Bertans has started to heat up again on the perimeter, but the Blazers have more shooting options than the Wizards with Bertans and Garrison Matthews. The Wizards are 29th in three-point shooting percentage (34.2%), while the Trail Blazers are fifth (38.9%) in the league. Washington has won three straight games, but their opponents have shot worse than 26% on threes in two of those three wins. Don’t expect this to happen against Portland.
The Trail Blazers have won six straight, and they have also covered in each of those six wins. Expect that trend to continue as the Trail Blazers ride their three-point shooting to a win by more than three.
Pick: Blazers -3 (bet down to -4.5)
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