Today’s the day!!! Today… it counts!
The Portland Trail Blazers begin their run for the eight-seed and they begin with the team currently standing in their way: The Memphis Grizzlies.
The Blazers sit 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies. This game has HUGE implications. Win and they’re 2.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Lose and they’re 4.5 games back.
For Portland, Damian Lillard is expected to play after sitting out of the final two scrimmages out with left foot inflammation. Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins will also be active after both suffering long-term injuries. While playing limited minutes, both Collins and Nurkic looked just as Rip City remembers them. A major question mark heading into Friday’s game will be who starts at power forward for Portland.
Will Terry Stotts elect to go with Hassan Whiteside over Collins?
We’ll have to wait and see.
Here are the odds, according to Caesars Sportsbook (9 a.m. PT July 31):
Spread: Trail Blazers -3
Moneyline: Blazers -145, Grizzlies +125
Picks: Trail Blazers
According to Action Network, 97% of the money being bet on the Blazers/Grizzlies match-up is landing on Lillard and Co.
Earlier in the week, Portland’s line was at -2, which has since been bet up. While Memphis’ odds are the greatest to make the playoffs, at 62% according to ESPN’s BPI, bettors are not liking their chances in this game.
Portland’s path to the playoffs is the toughest of any team vying for the eight-seed, giving them a 9% chance of making the playoffs by the same BPI metric.
All the action can be seen on the Official home of the Portland Trail Blazers, NBC Sports Northwest.