Sunday NBA Playoff Betting Preview, Odds, and Pick: Trailblazers vs. Thunder

Professional sports handicapper Ross Benjamin provides us with an extremely informative NBA betting preview on Game 1 of the NBA Playoff series between Oklahoma City and Portland. Ross concludes his article with a free pick on this contest.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Portland Trailblazers
Game# 513-514

The Thunder and Trailblazers are set to begin a best-of-7 NBA Western Conference Quarterfinal series on Sunday. The opening tip from the Moda Center in Portland is slated for 3:35 PM ET. At this present time (4/13), Bookmaker is displaying Portland as a 3.0-point favorite and there’s a posted total of 225.5.

Oklahoma City is the Western Conference #6 seed and finished regular season action with a 49-33 record. The Thunder has gone a respectable 22-19 in away games this season.

Portland earned a #3 seed after completing a very successful 53-29 regular season which included going an outstanding 32-9 at home.

Thunder Dominated Regular Season Meetings

Portland Trailblazers NBA playoff free pickThese division rivals faced each other 4 times this season with Oklahoma City winning and covering on each of those occasions. The Thunder won those head to head battles by an average of 7.0 points per contest.

The 4 games were very physical and that’s further evidenced by there being a combined 62 free throw attempts per contest. If that trend continues, it will surely favor Portland who’s gone 81.3% from the free throw line this season compared to Oklahoma City’s 71.3% conversion rate.

During the past 3 seasons, these teams have witnessed 5 of their 6 games played against one another in Portland going under.

Explosive Offensive Teams

These teams were mirror images of each other regarding their offensive numbers. Portland finished the regular season by averaging 114.6 points scored per game while Oklahoma City tallied 114.5 per contest. Each team averaged 11 three-point makes per game.

Portland has gone over the total in 16 of their last 18 home games. Those contests averaged a cumulative 237.5 points being scored per outing. During that stretch, the Trailblazers scored a lofty 124.2 points scored per game while shooting 49.2% and they made an impressive 39.2% of their 3-point shots.

Oklahoma City enters the postseason having averaged 122.6 points scored per game throughout their previous 5 outings. During that exact time frame, Oklahoma City averaged an enormous 98 field goal attempts per contest which equates to an extremely fast pace even by NBA standards.

Portland OKC free pickWhy Thunder Covers
First and foremost, the Thunder have confidence in knowing they swept the regular season series against Portland. Secondly, Portland was pretty much locked into a #3 seed during the final weeks of regular season action, and they haven’t played any meaningful games for a few weeks.

Oklahoma City was playing to avoid facing defending champion Golden State to start the playoffs. They not only accomplished that feat but also eluded going up against #2 seed Denver as well. You can make a strong case that Oklahoma City has been playing playoff type basketball recently while Portland’s games lacked any desperation or urgency on their part. It’s not always easy to just turn the switch back on like Portland will be asked to do.

Why Trailblazers Cover

Portland has been very good at home all season long. They will be playing with big time revenge against an Oklahoma City team that handed them 2 of their 9 home losses.

Additionally, solid guard play can’t be ignored at playoff time. Portland possesses a dynamic tandem of guards in C.J. McCollum (21.0 PPG) and Damian Lillard (25.8 PPG/6.9 APG) who are collectively and individually capable of carrying their team for prolonged periods of time.

Final Thoughts and Prediction

These division rivals know each other very well. In my professional opinion, that familiarity will serve both teams well defensively in Game1 and should produce a lower scoring game relative to the current total. My NBA pick on this game will coincide with that forecast.
Pick: Under 225.5

Ross Benjamin Free Pick

Ross Benjamin is a top sports analyst and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Follow him on Twitter: @RossBenjamin1 or visit his website at