Blazers vs. Pelicans Pick NBA – March 18th

I took a few days away from the pro hardwood to concentrate on March Madness, but figured it is high time to get back to some NBA picks as there is a pretty packed slate of good action tonight. Of course, the NBA isn’t doing us hardcore sports fans any favors this weekend, putting THE game of the season, the Warriors finally visiting San Antonio tomorrow night on ABC in primetime. SO do you watch second round NCAA Tournament action or see if the Warriors who are chasing immortality can win in San Antonio, who is chasing immortality of their own with their still-perfect home record.

Does the game mean a ton to Coach Pop?   Will he be more concerned with keeping some secrets for May as opposed to “showing they can win” now? I am assuming he will go for it, within reason (no junk defenses or special wrinkles) and see if they can beat the Dubs straight up. It is must-see television either way…

In the meantime, there are a couple good games tonight like Boston at Toronto in a possible Eastern Semis preview and Golden State tunes up for San Antonio with a road game at Dallas.

Let’s dive in.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Portland Trailblazers at New Orleans Pelicans -1.5

I get why this line is what it is; New Orleans is at home where they are a game over .500 this season and Portland played San Antonio last night making tonight the dreaded ‘back-to-back.’ Very often, that is enough to scare me away, but not tonight.

We kept waiting for the Pels to get it together and make a playoff surge. Suffice it to say, we are now waiting for next year. They are 17 games under .500 and enter tonight losers of five of their last six after finally snapping their skid Wednesday against the hapless Kings. They have a ton of injuries still including Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole and have failed to cover in five of their last six games against the Blazers.

Meanwhile, Portland may have lost last night in a tough 110-108 game with the Spurs, but have been good on the road this season against the spread. They are 8-4 ATS in their last 12 road games and 16-8 ATS in their last 24 games overall. Now, the balance to this, is that they have dropped their last four road games straight up. That could be a deal breaker, except for the fact that losses to the Spurs and Thunder are a far different matter than beating a defeated Pelicans team. I think NOLA is just playing out the string; poor Anthony Davis against all comers. Portland is still energized and motivated and making their push for good playoff seeding. I like the Blazers to play well tonight, even on the road, and to grab the win. They have been one of the best bets in the NBA this season, and tonight we can catch a few points against a bad team.

Free Pick: Portland Trailblazers +1.5