The Portland Trailblazers and the New Orleans Pelicans will square off in Round one of the Western Conference playoffs, with the better seeded Blazers set to host the first game on Saturday night.
The Blazers (49-33, 28-13 home) have been one of the NBA’s hottest teams in the second part of the season, particularly in February – March, posting a 13 game winning streak at one point. They slowed down a bit in the last few games as they had a very difficult schedule, but they stepped on the gas again when it mattered – dominating the red hot Utah in the last game of the regular season to clinch the third seed.
The Pelicans (48-34, 24-17 away) have won their last 5 games in the regular season in order to clinch the playoffs, eventually ending up as the 6th seed in the Western Conference. The Pelicans have played very well in the last couple of months despite losing DeMarcus Cousins in January, with Anthony Davis stepping up to lead them into post season. There have been a few blips along the way, but New Orleans will be confident entering this series.Bet on Blazers vs. Pelicans and claim your 100% (100 Eur) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news: The Blazers will only miss Harkless, while the Pelicans will continue to be without Cousins and Ajinca.
The Pelicans have played well recently and Anthony Davis is probably one of the Top 5 players in the NBA, but he has never won a single playoff game in his career and he doesn`t have enough help around him.
The Blazers have Lillard playing at an MVP level, but they have good pieces around him as well, particularly McCollum and Nurkic. Also, an underrated factor about the Blazers is how well coached they are – something which can`t be said about the Pelicans. Coaching is very underrated in the playoffs, and Portland has a pretty clear advantage here.
This will be an interesting series between two good, in form teams, but the Blazers should have too much. They are better, have played better this season, and home court advantage will be key. The Pelicans had an excellent away record in the regular season, but winning in Portland in the playoffs will be a completely different proposition.
The two teams split their regular season series, each team winning twice (once at home, once on the road).
The Blazers have been on fire since March and should make use of the home court advantage in this game one. They are better coached and have a huge advantage in the backcourt, which in today`s NBA is often decisive. The Pelicans rely too much on Davis, and that will probably not be enough.
The handicap on Portland is tempting, but it could become risky, while the straight home win seems pretty secure. The Pelicans do deserve respect, so I`m satisfied betting lower odds on the simple win here. Odds around 1.40 – 1.45 are playable, and I see no point in getting greedy, although I will invest high stakes on the bet.
My tip on this Game 1 clash will be the Portland TrailBlazers to win. Prediction: Portland Trailblazers – New Orleans Pelicans 114 – 107.