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Posted at 1:45 PM EST.
10:30 PM EST. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but there isn't a staler angle in the market than a team out for blood against a rival that is perceived to have done them dirty. You may remember the first round of last spring's NBA playoffs where these Trailblazers were swept by the Pelicans and so that narrative has been woven into the fabric of this season, but Portland already downed New Orleans 132-119 back in November. However, until these two teams meet again when it matters most, no number of regular season victories are going to replace the Blazers getting bounced from the playoffs.
Portland is coming off a routine 129-112 win over Cleveland, but it's hard to put much stock into a win over what's left of the LeBron-less Cavaliers. The Blazers are on an impressive five-game home winning streak, but this team does have its faults. Portland ranks second in turnovers, second worst in defending the three and they are 20th in transition defense. On many nights, including last time out against the Cavs, the Blazers are going to be able to outshoot their opposition at will, but the Pelicans are also very capable of scoring in bunches (125 points on average the last eight games) and Antonio Davis is a matchup problem just about every night.
New Orleans is on the outside looking in on the postseason, but it has ripped off four wins in its last six games. While the 'Cans most recent result was a loss, they went toe-to-toe with the mighty Warriors and led that game most of the way before falling 147-140 in Oakland. Davis was a beast going for 30 points and 18 boards and seven assists. One could argue that this might be a letdown spot after that disappointing outcome against the defending champs, but we would argue the Pelicans likely can't wait to get back on the court after proving they have what it takes to hang with the best team in the NBA. A boost in confidence combined with a step down in competition bodes well for a Pelican victory and so that is how we'll play this one.
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New Orleans +130 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.60)