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Portland Can Clinch Play-In Berth With Victory Over Nets

Damian Lillard NBA Betting Preview: Portland Trail Blazers vs Brooklyn Nets

Thanks to Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers are just one win away from clinching eighth spot in the West and a double-elimination advantage in the play-in round. However, Portland can’t afford to look past a Brooklyn squad that has won five of seven games in the bubble, including upsets of the Clippers and Bucks.

Portland Trail Blazers vs Brooklyn Nets
  • Date/Time: August 13, 9 p.m. ET
  • Arena: AdventHealth Arena
  • TV Coverage: TNT
  • Opening Odds: Trail Blazers -9 | O/U 234 (Line History)
  • Trail Blazers vs Nets Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Portland’s motivation is certainly priced into this line as oddsmakers opened the Blazers as 9-point chalk. Only one of Portland’s five victories in the bubble has come by more than nine points, and the Blazers haven’t been favored by this much since January 13 vs Charlotte.

Portland News & Notes

There’s been no shortage of fascinating storylines in the bubble, but Damian Lillard’s torrid scoring has dominated the headlines this week. After being mocked by the Clippers bench for missing key free throws late in a loss to LA on Saturday, the diminutive guard has been on an absolute tear, averaging 56 points in victories over the Mavericks and 76ers.

In doing so, Lillard became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to record three 60-point games in the same season. One of those games, by the way, was against the Nets last November.

As integral as Lillard has been to Portland’s 5-2 record (5-1-1 ATS) in Orlando, the team’s fast starts has also been a big key. The Trail Blazers scored 38 points in the opening quarter and 66 in the first half Tuesday against Dallas, improving to 5-2 and 6-1 ATS against the first-quarter and first-half betting lines, respectively. Portland is also 6-1 to the OVER in the seeding games.

If you’re planning on betting on Portland, you might want to wait until you see how Wednesday’s early games are going. The Trail Blazers don’t need a win to clinch eighth place if Phoenix, San Antonio and Memphis all lose — their games will be completed before Portland takes the court for a 9 p.m. ET tip.

Brooklyn News & Notes

The Nets are locked into the East’s seventh seed and a first-round matchup with the Raptors, but interim head coach Jacque Vaughn doesn’t appear to be taking his foot off the gas for his team’s seeding-round finale. Despite missing Tuesday’s game against Orlando to nurse injuries, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jamal Crawford are all expected to take the court vs the Blazers.

Even if those players see limited minutes on Thursday, Brooklyn’s bench has more than proven it can hang with tough competition. The Nets opened up a 21-point lead over the Magic before halftime and six different players cracked double digits in scoring in Brooklyn’s 108-96 win Tuesday, improving the Nets to 5-2 SU and ATS in the seeding games.

Their historic upset of the Bucks as 19-point underdogs last week also came without Allen, Harris or LeVert in the lineup.

Betting Pick: Nets +9

The Trail Blazers might —and probably will — win this game, but I don’t expect Brooklyn to go down without a fight. Portland’s defense has given up at least 120 points in five of seven seeding games, a reason why three of the Blazers’ five wins have come by five points or less.

Shark Bites
  • The Trail Blazers are 5-1-1 ATS in 7 seeding games.
  • The Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The OVER is 23-8 in the Trail Blazers’ last 31 games.