The Portland Trail Blazers have been thankful for some extended Dame Time this week to turn around their six-game homestand — and the next test comes tonight against the Toronto Raptors.
With the Trail Blazers treading water after three straight losses and a largely underwhelming January, Damian Lillard put on his cape this week to deliver two much-needed wins, including a 60-point explosion in Wednesday’s 134-124 victory over the Jazz.
Now they’re catching the Raptors in a nice spot after Nick Nurse’s men lost a grueling battle against the Warriors last night, despite 28 points from Fred VanVleet and key starters logging heavy minutes.
Find out everything you need to know ahead of tonight’s matchup in our free NBA picks and predictions for Raptors vs. Blazers on January 28.
Raptors vs Trail Blazers best odds
Raptors vs Trail Blazers picks and predictions
The Damian Lillard props are the natural place to start, but his recent scoring binge has jacked the prop line up to 32.5 points. That might be a big ask against an athletic Toronto defense likely to send swarming double teams if Lillard starts cooking.
I’m looking at the Toronto side instead, where O.G. Anunoby is unlikely to play after injuring his wrist last night. That just cracks the door open even wider for Scottie Barnes to continue his impressive recent form, and the do-it-all second-year man should get all the minutes he can handle here in what feels like a make-or-break road trip for the Raptors before the trade deadline.
Barnes finished with 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists last night against an experienced Golden State defense — and that was no fluke. He’s cracked the 20-point mark eight times since the calendar flipped to 2023 while looking more and more comfortable in a point-center role.
With Fred VanVleet coming off the draining Steph Curry assignment last night and now facing Lillard, this is an ideal game for Nurse to run more of the offense through Barnes, who had 22 points and nine rebounds against Portland in their early-January meeting in Toronto.
I expect Barnes to be aggressive from the opening tip. He’ll have a big athleticism edge over whoever starts at center for Portland, and there’s an inviting runway for him to fill up the box score again tonight.
My best bet: Scottie Barnes Over 29.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-105 at PointsBet)
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Raptors vs Trail Blazers spread analysis
During this rollercoaster season in Portland, the Trail Blazers have still found ways to take care of business against weaker opponents at Moda Center. The hosts are 4-1 against the spread in their last five home games against teams with losing road records.
But it’s really the Lillard hot streak and the Raptors’ scheduling challenge that sets the Trail Blazers up as 4.5-point favorites tonight. A rested Portland team should get solid secondary scoring from Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant, though head coach Chauncey Billups is sweating on the health of Jusuf Nurkic and Josh Hart.
VanVleet and Pascal Siakam both logged 40 minutes last night against the Warriors, and Nurse desperately needs some steady bench production here to buy breathers for his starting group.
Siakam went 8-for-26 from the field at Chase Center, but he’s generally bounced back quickly this season after inefficient outings and is still averaging 25 points a night.
Raptors vs Trail Blazers Over/Under analysis
The Raptors have turned in two very different defensive outings on this road trip so far, holding the free-scoring Kings to 95 points on Wednesday, then getting blitzed for 129 points by the Warriors.
Make of that what you will — but I expect another high-scoring contest here, with Toronto rolling into Portland in the early hours of this morning while the Trail Blazers have been off since Wednesday night.
The Over is 5-1 in Portland’s last six home games against a team with a losing road record, and Lillard is firing on all cylinders after a can’t-miss kind of week. However, keep an eye on the injury report, as the Trail Blazers’ so-so depth could potentially be under the microscope again if Nurkic and Hart sit out.
The Raptors’ offense shouldn’t be counted out just because of the back-to-back fatigue. In fact, they’ve been prolific in this spot, cashing in the Over in five of their last six games when their starting line-up has played more than 160 minutes the previous night. The Over has also hit in seven of their last eight road games.
Raptors vs Trail Blazers betting trend to know
The Toronto defense generally hasn’t traveled well. The Over is 6-1 in the Raptors’ last seven road games against a team with a winning home record. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Trail Blazers.
Raptors vs Trail Blazers game info
|Location:||Moda Center, Portland, OR|
|Date:||Saturday, January 28, 2023|
|Tip-off:||10:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Sportsnet, ROOT Sports|