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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:54 PM

Thursday's NBA Best Bet - Portland Trail Blazers at Indiana Pacers

Thursday's NBA Betting Preview and Predictions

Coming off a strong Wednesday with these plays, it's back to the NBA tonight as it's their usual Thursday Night showcase for the league with just a select few games hitting the floor.

And while it is a four-game slate, there is one game I would like to discuss in particular, as it's the only non-conference matchup on the card.

Date: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020
Matchup: Portland Trail Blazers at Indiana Pacers
TV/Time: TNT, 8:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

NBA Betting Odds

Indiana -9.5, Total 218

Follow the Line Movements and Betting Trends for tonight's TNT matchup.

Portland-Indiana Betting Analysis

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS)

Portland does not come into tonight's game in the good books of the betting market in general, as a 0-5 ATS run is currently what they are on. There has only been one outright win in that span, and the last three of those games were Blazers home games as well. Recent trips outside of Portland have not gone well for this team either,  as they've dropped four in a row outright as visitors (1-3 ATS), with the average margin of defeat in those losses clocking in at 14.75 points per game, with three of the four coming by at least seven points.
 
Not having Damian Lillard on the floor for some of those defeats is obviously a big reason why the Blazers have been struggling in general, as they are basically a two-man team to begin with with Lillard and McCollum doing the bulk of the heavy lifting on a nightly basis. Portland ends up playing without one of them and there are going to be nights where they just don't have the shooting to keep up. That may not be as big of an issue tonight against a Pacers team that ranks 21st in the league with 109.3 points per game, but it is something to be aware of with Portland games until Lillard returns.
 
Yet, at the same time, the tried and true tested way to snap a losing funk is to make sure a team brings their defense with them wherever they go. Guys can't always be on fire shooting the basketball every night, but the more they lock in defensively, the more likely they are to have a shot to at least hang around. If the Blazers are going to want to get back in the win column tonight – or still without Lillard in general – it's got to start on the defensive end. Of Portland's last four losses, all of them saw their opponent put up 111+ points.
 
That's not a point range I believe you can feel confident in the Pacers landing in, as their average on the year is two points below that mark. Remember, it was just before the All-Star break where Indiana had their own troubles where they seemingly couldn't get out of their own way at times, and some time away from the game and each other during the break appears to have worked. Indiana has won two of three since returning from All-Star weekend, and in those two victories, they've made sure that their calling card was on defense. Neither the Knicks nor Hornets scored more then 98 points in any of those contests, and knowing they've got Portland without their top scorer in Lillard tonight, the Pacers defense has to like where they sit.
 
Which means, the only way to really look at this game from a betting perspective is to look for this one to stay well below the posted total tonight. Not sure you can trust either team regarding the point spread, as Indiana is not a team you think of in terms of pulling away from foes and winning by double digits very often – let alone two games in a row – and Portland at +9.5 is probably just as unreliable given who's still in street clothes and there recent struggles overall and on the road.
 
But the total at 218.5 is probably a full possession too high in my view, as the Pacers – who are a Top 10 team in opponent points per game, defensive efficiency, and opponent effective FG % - are going to look to their defense to seize control of this game early on, and let it carry them home as well if that ends up being possible.
 
At the same time, Portland's efforts to pull off an upset won't be so heavily offensively-oriented, as the Pacers aren't a team anyone in the NBA fears about out running and gunning them. Portland's just 2-5 O/U in road non-conference games as it is, and with a 3-8 O/U run going after a suffering a double digit loss, this already has some solid info leading towards an against the grain pick on this 'under.'Indiana's on a 1-4 O/U run overall themselves, and four of their last five games with the Blazers have cashed 'under' tickets regardless of venue.
 
So give me the low side of this total tonight, as the old theory of looking for 'unders' in the TNT Thursday night showcase games shows up in tonight's first contest of the network double header.

Best Bet: Trail Blazers vs. Pacers

Under 218.5

Be sure to see what our VegasInsider.com Experts are picking on tonight's Indiana-Portland matchup!

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