I feel bad for those poor interns at NBA TV. They probably had a nice cookie cutter, copy-and-paste graphic for tonight’s game locked and loaded. Steph Curry and Damian Lillard: the heavyweight point guards of the Western Conference.
Now, Curry is sidelined, wearing suits while the Golden State Warriors struggle to stay afloat in a tightly-contested conference. Golden State currently holds the 10th seed at 18-18. They are five games out of full home-court advantage and three teams are within 3.5 games of their playoff spot.
A new graphic will have to be drawn up to cap off a week nobody wants to work. The gray area between Christmas and New Years is as unproductive as spring break at your favorite party school. Do you even know what day it is?
That intern may turn to scoring options like Jordan Poole or Klay Thompson to fill out their advertisement. But will either be enough to top the Portland Trail Blazers?
Trust Damian Lillard On Friday Night
Sometimes, basketball is an art, a team sport reliant on chemistry and fundamentals. It can also be a matter of brute force. Curry’s injury leaves Lillard uncontested as the best player on the floor whenever he’s checked in.
Expect him to take over. He’s currently projected for 29.5 points at BetMGM, with -110 odds on the over and -120 odds on the under. You would need to place a $110 bet to win $100 on the former and $120 on the latter for the same return. If you’re confident in projecting Lillard’s night, be sure to use BetMGM’s unique promotion for Bet Basics readers: UP TO $1,000 IN BONUS BETS.
The Warriors will be without Curry and have other injuries to deal with as well. Forward Andrew Wiggins is out with an illness. Defensive stalworts Draymond Green and Donte DiVincenzo are banged up, but probable for tonight’s action.
Against a shorthanded Golden State lineup, Lillard should eat. A couple doses of regression to the mean wouldn’t hurt, either. In his last game, he dropped 17 points on a putrid 1-for-10 from deep. Two games prior, his 2-of-11 performance from behind the arc netted him a 16-point game. He has gone for more than 30 in five of his last 11 games, too. Expect him to find his stroke.
Additionally, Golden State’s home-road splits have been absurd this season. Their 15-2 home record tops the sport, while their 3-16 road record is…not great. The Warriors are at home tonight, and the regression monster may be hungry. They won’t win 88% of their home games all year long.
The Trail Blazers are healthier and better so far this season, especially defensively. Golden State shouldn’t be as potent, and even if Portland center Jusuf Nurkic isn’t a full go, they lack the talent down low to adequately take advantage.
Defensively, I’m not convinced the Warriors can throw their best at Lillard. Klay Thompson is not what he was in terms of a two-way threat, at least not yet. Their other best defenders are dealing with injuries. The scene is set for the Oakland kid to put on a show in the Bay.
Take the over on Lillard’s points, and consider adding in the Trail Blazers to cover at -1.5 (-105). On BetMGM, this parlay nets +240 odds. If you’d prefer to lower the bar for Lillard to clear, the same parlay with Lillard over 26.5 gives +180 odds.
The end of this article refers to a parlay, which combines two bets to create longer odds and a more lucrative payout. Be careful though, every leg of a parlay needs to hit in order to win, and parlays are generally not a sustainable betting strategy.