The Portland Trail Blazers will be without several high-profile players on Monday night as they welcome the Hawks. Are they fade-worthy against a poor defensive team, or will the Blazers rally for a win without three starters? Let’s analyze the NBA odds so that you can cash out at the best online books.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Monday, January 03, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Moda Center
Blazers’ Offensive Struggles
Betting unders in the NBA has been tough lately. Theoretically, the more high-profile players that are out lead to lower scores. It’s been this way in the NBA for years.
However, not so much lately. Replacement players are playing bigger minutes and have been playing well in most cases, but the playing well on defense is another story. This has been true for both the Hawks and Blazers, who will have to rely on a lot of players that were either fringe NBA players or not on a roster when the season started. Their defenses have suffered more than usual though.
For the Blazers, they will once again be without Damian Lillard. They missed him for a stretch of games back in December and their offense sputtered to a halt. Lillard has been playing through an abdominal injury for some time now, but it’s gotten to the point where he and the Blazers probably can’t justify him playing through a lot of pain on a team that is going nowhere this season.
They are 13-22 SU going into tonight. Speaking of going nowhere, the Hawks’ defense has ensured that they aren’t getting anywhere close to the conference finals this season. While Trae Young is back, the Hawks will still be without Bogdan Bogdanović and John Collins tonight due to health and safety protocols.
Add in that C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkić are also out for the Blazers and I struggle to see where either of these teams get points tonight outside of taking advantage of the other’s poor defense.
The Sharp Pick
While I am in no way trusting the Hawks’ defense to slow down the Blazers here, with the small sample sizes we have of Lillard not playing this season, the Blazers’ offense has been pretty terrible.
According to NBA Wowy, Lillard McCollum and Nurkić are off the floor this season, the Blazers average just 96 points per 100 possessions.
While the Hawks’ defense is one of the worst in the NBA, that may not matter here if the Blazers can’t put the ball in the basket. Even average defense from the Hawks tonight will be enough to hold down the Blazers, and it’s why I’m attacking the Portland team total of 110.5 points.
Earlier this season when Lillard was forced to miss five straight games between the end of November and the first week of December, the Blazers averaged just 99.6 points per 100 possessions without him and that was with Nurkić in the lineup for all those games and McCollum was available for the first three before his lung issue started.
If you isolate those two games against the Clippers and the Warriors without Lillard and McCollum earlier this season, the Blazers averaged just 92.5 points per 100 possessions and they failed to reach 95 points in both of them.
This game is at home and against a below-average defensive team should help Portland improve on that some, but 110 points are way too much for this team considering their personnel right now.
I’m adding the under to my NBA picks and I’ll likely sprinkle some on some of Portland’s alt-totals. They will probably be above 100 points against this soft Hawks defense, but not too much more than that.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.