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NBA Betting Lines — Blazers Might Have Aldridge Back For Date with Nuggets

The Portland Trail Blazers may get some very good news on Saturday night with the return of their leading scorer and rebounder. But even if he does not come back into the fold, the Blazers will try to continue their current roll without him as they play host to the Denver Nuggets in NBA betting action that is scheduled to begin at 10:05 PM ET at the Moda Center in Portland.

With their current four-game winning streak, Portland has a straight-up record of 40-18, which is good for third place overall in the Western Conference. They are also 32-26 when it comes to covering the basketball pointspread. On the other hand, Denver season has more or less gone into the toilet. The Nuggets are 25-32 straight up, and they have not been profitable at all against the basketball odds, with the 23-33-1 covering mark.

In the NBA betting lines that have been established on this game by the people at WagerWeb, the Blazers are laying double digits at home:

Portland Trail Blazers -11.5
Denver Nuggets +11.5

Over 214 points -110
Under 214 points -110

Power forward LeMarcus Aldridge, who played in the All-Star game representing the Blazers, has sat out the last five games with a groin injury. He just returned to practice, so it will likely be a gametime decision as to whether he will see action on Saturday night. It did not take very long for Portland to adapt to playing without him; the second-year point guard, Damien Lillard, took control, and he is averaged 27 points in Aldridge’s absence. It was an important thing for the All-Star out of Weber State to exhibit that kind of leadership. Portland has scored 100 points or more in each of its last six games, and has covered seven of their last ten against the NBA betting odds.

The Blazers have also limited the opposition to less than 40% from the field in three consecutive games. That is an absolute revelation, considering the fact that this team had gone through a stretch of 19 games since they had held any opponent below 40%.

As WagerWeb customers know, Denver has its own injury issues. The most significant involves point guard Ty Lawson, who is out of this game with a rib injury. They have already lost Nate Robinson, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Darrell Arthur. Now, small forward Wilson Chandler is doubtful for this game with a knee ailment, and he is quite important when it comes to defending against the pick-and-roll offense.

It’s hard to say that getting banged-up was really the main determinant of the Nuggets’ woes, although it didn’t help. Part of the problem with Denver is that this team didn’t really figure out how they wanted to play. Brian Shaw is in his first year as head coach, and he had this team playing a more deliberate style, which was clearly something they were not comfortable with. Veteran point guard Andre Miller complained about it, and he wound up in Shaw’s doghouse. Miller is a respected elder statesman in the NBA, and that had to create some division in the Denver locker room. Eventually he was shipped off to Cleveland, but the damage was done. Miller was barred from all team activities, in effect, until he was traded away.

This team, which eventually went back to playing more up-tempo, but still has trouble scoring, has now lost nine of its last 10 games straight up, and has covered just one of its last 11 against the NBA lines. While Portland, as mentioned, has held its last three opponents below 40%, Denver has shot below 40% in six of its last eight games. One of those games was on February 25 against the Blazers at the Pepsi Center, in which Denver held Portland to slightly less than 37% from the field and had a rebounding edge of 78-51, but still managed to lose the game, and the cover. Why? Because Portland got to the line 38 times (making 32) and hit a dozen three-pointers. That would appear to be the only way a team could overcome 27 offensive rebounds on the part of the opposition, which is exactly what Denver had.

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