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The New York Knicks will travel to the Moda Center on Sunday night to take on the Portland Trail Blazers. The Knicks are 8-9 on the season with a loss on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings 103-94. The Trail Blazers are 8-6 on the season and are coming off a 125-104 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night but haven’t played due to the COVID issues postponing their two-game set against the Memphis Grizzlies.
These two teams have very different mindsets in their philosophies so that will create an interesting matchup. Let’s take a deeper dive into this game and figure out where we should be placing our wagers.
All Star Randle?
Power forward Julius Randle of the New York Knicks has taken one of the biggest steps that any player has taken this season. He is averaging 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 0.7 steals in 37 minutes per game. He is shooting well as he is 47.9 percent from the floor, 33.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 79.8 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Kings, Randle played 36 minutes and finished with 26 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists. If he can continue his great start, the Knicks will be very happy.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been the worst defenses to begin the year as they are giving up 115.9 points per game, which is 25th in the league. In their last game against the Spurs, they allowed 125 points on 48-of-90 (53.3 percent) from the floor, 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc, and 16 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to limit the amount of open shots being taken against them, they will be a better defense for it.
With the injuries presenting itself, point guard Damian Lillard has been carrying the Portland Trail Blazers this season. He is averaging 28.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and a steal in 36.2 minutes per game. He is shooting well as he is 44.1 percent from the floor, 36.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 94.5 percent from the charity stripe. In his last game against the Spurs, Lillard played 36 minutes and finished with 35 points, three rebounds, six assists, a block, a steal, and five turnovers. If he can cut down the turnovers, it will definitely help Portland get going offensively.
The New York Knicks has been the best defense to begin the year as they are giving up 102.8 points per game. In their last game against the Kings, they allowed 103 points on 38-of-91 (41.8 percent) from the floor, 12-of-34 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arc, and 21 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to limit the amount of open shots being taken against them, they will be an even scarier defense for it.
Portland: Under is 7-1 in Trail Blazers last 8 vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
Portland: Under is 4-1 in Trail Blazers last 5 games as a favorite.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Portland is the better team, even with the injuries that have occurred to them. The Knicks are 4-4 on the road and the Trail Blazers are 5-5 at home so there is no real advantage coming there. However, Rip City has LaMarcus Aldridge who can guard Julius Randle while the Knicks, and most of the league to that point, do not have a player who can limit Damian Lillard from getting going. Portland is going to need Dame Dolla to take over the offense and he will have no problem doing so. Go with the Trail Blazers to cover the spread here.
Portland Trail Blazers -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
We highlighted the defenses for both teams so let’s talk about the offenses. The New York Knicks are averaging 101.3 points per game on 44.2 percent from the floor while the Portland Trail Blazers are averaging 114.9 points per game on 43.8 percent from the floor. This game is without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic so the offense will be limited and are going against the best defense in the league. Expect the UNDER to hit in this game.