It should finally be Dame Time again as the Portland Trail Blazers prepare to welcome back their superstar guard against the Indiana Pacers.
Put simply, the timing couldn’t be better for Chauncey Billups’ banged-up team. Portland struggled mightily without Lillard for the past seven games, but got a 45-point masterclass from Anfernee Simons in last night’s impressive 116-111 win over the Utah Jazz.
As for Indiana, it continues to exceed expectations in the Eastern Conference standings, though consecutive losses have exposed defensive flaws, and key man Tyrese Haliburton is questionable with a groin injury.
Learn more in our Pacers vs. Trail Blazers NBA betting picks and predictions ahead of tonight’s game.
Pacers vs Trail Blazers best odds
Pacers vs Trail Blazers picks and predictions
Anfernee Simons grabbed the headlines last night with his career-high 45 points on red-hot 15 of 25 shooting, and Jerami Grant was an influential sidekick on the way to 33 points and five assists. With Damian Lillard set to return tonight, this Portland offense is ready to take off.
Though the Trail Blazers’ lengthy injury list has left Billups scrambling to tweak the rotation, at the moment he has little choice but to play his star men for heavy minutes. The fatigue factor is real, but Simons and Grant are again on course to log around 40 minutes. That’s a plus for the offense, with both able to create their own shot.
Assuming Lillard is back to something close to regular minutes, his playmaking should free up Simons and Grant for far easier shots than they’ve been forced to take lately — not that shot selection was an issue for Simons last night when he torched the Utah backcourt time and again. The young guard is blossoming into a multi-dimensional scoring threat, and it’s tough to see the Indiana perimeter defense slowing him down.
Grant has embraced a bigger offensive role over the past few weeks without Lillard and the output has been consistent. He’s scored 27 or more points in his last five games, averaging 33 a night and papering over some of the streaky shooting around him and Simons.
Given the Pacers’ sloppy defensive outings this week, I like the Trail Blazers to cash in and put up a big total tonight.
My best bet: Trail Blazers team total Over 119.5 (+115)
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Pacers vs Trail Blazers spread analysis
The Blazers played an eight-man rotation last night in Utah, making this an extra grueling back-to-back set. Those heavy minutes (Simons 41, Jusuf Nurkic 39, Grant 37) have to be factored in when weighing up a bet on Portland, but the prospect of Lillard’s return can elevate the hosts.
Indiana has questions to answer defensively after allowing 137 points against the Sacramento Kings and 139 points to the Jazz on Friday. The Pacers were blown away just before half-time against Utah, giving up a string of easy transition buckets, and Rick Carlisle has had little time to work with his players to fix those breakdowns.
The visitors have had the benefit of a day off to prepare, but they are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games with one day’s rest. If Haliburton is hobbled, the Trail Blazers could pounce and cover this small spread.
Pacers vs Trail Blazers Over/Under analysis
If Portland’s recent Sunday form is any indication, the Under is the way to go here. It’s hit in each of the Trail Blazers’ last six Sunday games and is 7-1 in their last eight games following a straight up win. But Lillard’s likely return at a rocking Moda Center and Haliburton’s groin injury are key variables. For Dame, how many minutes will he play and how will his conditioning hold up?
The Trail Blazers’ schedule this week has been draining — a home date with the L.A. Clippers, then traveling to LA to face the Lakers the next night, and now this home date against the Pacers a day after playing in Utah. If Portland isn’t as locked in defensively and Indiana is coming off some rough defensive outings of its own, we could be in for a high-scoring night with plenty of expert one-on-one bucket getters on show.
I’ve already backed the Blazers for a big offensive outing, and if Haliburton is cleared to play, the Over becomes even more appealing. Keep an eye on the injury report all the way up to tip-off.
Pacers vs Trail Blazers betting trend to know
Indiana is 1-3 ATS during its recent struggles and its last four losses have all been by double digits, including back-to-back blowouts. Find more NBA betting trends for Pacers vs. Trail Blazers.
Pacers vs Trail Blazers game info
|Location:||Moda Center, Portland, OR|
|Date:||Sunday, December 4, 2022|
|Tip-off:||9:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports Indiana, ROOT Sports|