Portland Trail Blazers odds: Can bettors trust their recent ATS run?
Portland Trail Blazers odds: Can bettors trust their recent ATS run?
The Portland Trail Blazers have won six of their past seven games straight up and against the spread, but they've been streaky before. What makes this different?
Don't look now, but the Portland Trail Blazers are streaking. And oddsmakers are still trying to catch them. The Blazers are coming off their [most impressive win](http://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401071436) of the season, a 27-point smackdown of Utah in a game that was decided by the first quarter. It was the third consecutive win and sixth in seven games straight up and against the spread for Portland, which [sits fourth](http://www.nba.com/standings#/) in the West standings after a turbulent first half of the season. The team has also covered or pushed in six straight as favorites and won 11 of 15 SU since Jan. 1. Add it all up, and the Blazers (32-20 SU, 29-23 ATS) boast the league's sixth-best record ATS and third-best at home (19-10). Sportsbooks are taking notice, starting with Tuesday's game against the Miami Heat (24-27 SU, 26-25 ATS), who are 7.5-point underdogs despite one of the league's best road records against the spread. __Play and win:__ Free [Daily NBA Pick 5 contest](https://betchicago.chalkline.com/games/nba-pick-5). Correctly pick five games against the spread to win a BetChicago prize pack. Excluding games against bottom-five teams, Tuesday's line would be Portland's biggest spread as favorites since it gave 7.5 points to Dallas in a 121-118 win on Dec. 23 -- and tied for the third-biggest all year against non-bottom five teams. Even with six days' rest, it's a hefty charge to back a team that seemed dead on arrival in December. Is it too late to jump on the Blazers' betting wagon? And it this recent success sustainable? ## New year, new team for the Blazers On Nov. 20, Portland slipped past the Knicks as road favorites to advance to 12-7 -- best in the West through the first month of the season. Seven months after getting housed by New Orleans in the playoffs, it looked like the Blazers had turned a corner. Instead, it started an [eight-game skid](https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/POR/2019/gamelog/#17-24-sum:tgl_basic) ATS for the Blazers, who dropped six outright in that stretch to tumble down the standings. Compare that to Portland's current [seven-game stretch](https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/POR/2019/gamelog/#46-52-sum:tgl_basic), which includes two wins over the Jazz (30-24 SU, 26-26-2 ATS) and four wins of at least 14 points entering Tuesday. __MORE:__ [Raptors at 76ers highlight Tuesday's NBA betting action](https://www.betchicago.com/raptors-76ers-betting-lines-odds-trends-kawhi-leonard) Three of those seven games were against the league's worst teams (Cleveland, Phoenix, Atlanta). But the Blazers beat Houston (31-22 SU, 24-28-1 ATS) earlier this month and covered at Denver, one of only eight home losses ATS this season for the Nuggets (37-16, 29-24 ATS). It all points to this team being a legitimate contender -- at least more so than it was to begin the year. ## So what changed for Portland? It starts with the offense, which for years has been the Blazers' bread and butter thanks to an elite backcourt and a coach who preaches ball movement. During that eight-game stretch in November and December, Portland's assist-to-turnover ratio was 1.48 -- which, extrapolated across the full season, would [rank fifth-worst](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=AST_TO&dir=-1) in the NBA. That completely changed when the calendar flipped anew. Since Jan. 1, Terry Stott's team boasts the [sixth-best](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=AST_TO&dir=-1&Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&DateFrom=01%2F01%2F2019&DateTo=02%2F05%2F2019) AST/TO ratio in the league (2.03). If you took the past [seven-game sample](https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/POR/2019/gamelog/#46-52-sum:tgl_basic) (2.24 AST/TO) and stretched it across the season, it'd rank first by a mile. The improved ball movement has helped revive an offense that [ranks fifth](https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2019_ratings.html) in adjusted points per possession (113.8) and has the ninth-best winning percentage in the league despite the [sixth-toughest strength of schedule](http://www.espn.com/nba/stats/rpi/_/sort/PCT). Only Houston and Toronto also rank in the top 10 in both. __MORE:__ [Can the Bulls get anything of real value at 2019 NBA trade deadline?](https://www.betchicago.com/bulls-nba-trade-deadline-2019) What does that mean for bettors? For one, the Blazers are better than their record, especially in the past few weeks. They've also changed their style. Portland was an UNDER darling for much of the year, at one point hitting eight straight UNDERS with two five-game streaks before it. Now, OVER is king. The Blazers have scored 120 in six of its past seven games -- all OVERs -- thanks to a resurgent offensive effort and better play from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who have both upped their assist and scoring numbers since the dismal eight-game stretch. Oddsmakers haven't reacted just yet, and if Tuesday's total (211.5) holds, it would be Portland's lowest in 11 games and fourth-lowest all year. ## How to bet the Blazers' final stretch The Blazers have been prone to streaky play in years' past. But while they're hot, ride it out. Portland has shot almost a full seven percentage points better in its past seven games than it did in that eight-game tumble, and its [rebounding rate since Jan. 1](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=REB_PCT&dir=-1&Season=2018-19&SeasonType=Regular%20Season&DateFrom=01%2F01%2F2019&DateTo=02%2F05%2F2019) (52.6 percent) is even better than its yearlong mark, which already [ranks second](https://stats.nba.com/teams/advanced/?sort=REB_PCT&dir=-1) in the NBA. More rebounds means more shots, a boon to an offense as explosive as this one. The production isn't isolated to its two stars, either. Sure, Lillard and McCollum have started to mesh -- they both scored 20 in the first half against Utah for the first time all year -- with McCollum scoring at least 20 in four straight, his longest stretch this season. But others have stepped up, too. __MORE:__ [Fade James Harden's MVP odds while you can](https://www.betchicago.com/fade-james-harden-for-2018-19-nba-mvp) Jake Layman, a second-round pick in 2016, has averaged 13 points and four rebounds as a [key bench piece](https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/laymaja01/gamelog/2019#105-111-sum:pgl_basic) in the Blazers' recent seven-game run, including two 20-point games in wins over Phoenix and New Orleans. Jusuf Nurkic, who's enjoyed a [breakout campaign](https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/n/nurkiju01.html) in his fifth season, is averaging 10.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game and anchoring Portland with the inside consistency it's lacked since the LaMarcus Aldridge era. He'd grabbed at least eight rebounds in [14 straight games](https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/n/nurkiju01/gamelog/2019) before missing his first contest in that blowout Jazz win. The Blazers didn't need him, as Meyers Leonard recorded six boards and four threes in his stead. Portland figures to be [active at the trade deadline](http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/25902818/nba-trade-deadline-preview-zach-lowe-expect), per ESPN's Zach Lowe, with names such as Otto Porter and Taurean Prince as potential options for a long-term wing. __MORE:__ [Bulls taking calls for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn ahead of trade deadline](https://www.betchicago.com/bulls-trade-deadline-zach-lavine-kris-dunn) The Blazers [traded for](http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/25915855/portland-acquires-rodney-hood-cleveland) Rodney Hood on Monday for cheap, which should only improve a bench unit that, while middle of the pack by NBA standards, is the best this team has had in a long while. All of this is to say that Portland looks and acts the part of a legitimate contender with a little over two months to go in the regular season. The team is covering against the best and worst teams (especially at home) and blowing the total out of the water, with systemic on-court reasons for each. Health notwithstanding, the Blazers are as good a bet as any in the NBA at the moment. Cash in before oddsmakers catch up. __Bookmark us:__ [Daily NBA betting coverage](https://www.betchicago.com/nba-betting)2019-02-05T21:58:25.015Z2019-02-05T15:01-07:00