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It has been a continued uphill battle for the Portland Trail Blazers in their push towards the backend of the playoffs in the Western Conference. The Blazers are coming off a tough loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks have struggled to gather any sort of real footing so far this season. The Hawks are heading into the contest after dropping their previous two games.
Blazers looking to make playoff pushIt has been nothing short of a tough season for the Blazers as they have struggled to find their footing this year as they have had some struggles towards finding their way. That was largely come to be expected given the massive level of changes to their roster around their core group. That has put new faces into prominent roles while they have been without to prominent players in Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins for significant chunks of the year. That had led them to make some moves during the season to help guide them back on the right path. They have had their struggles defensively this season, which has been a prominent part of their shortcomings on the court this season as they are allowing 115.2 points per contest.
However, it hasn't been entirely disappointing as they have been able to push their way into contention for the backend of the playoff picture. That has seen the midseason addition of Carmelo Anthony continuing to pay off as he has proven to still have plenty of gas left in the tank to play at a high level. Anthony has notched more than 20 points twice in his previous four games played, which as proved a much-needed scoring punch with Damian Lillard still out of the mix. Meanwhile, guard CJ McCollum has continued to shoulder the primary scoring role with Lillard sidelined as he been a huge offensive asset with more than 20 points in each of his last five games. His increased production along with Anthony stepping up as a secondary option should push the Blazers to a much-needed road win.
Hawks hoping to find success at homeThe Hawks had headed into this season with the hope that they could make some significant headway in the standings in the Eastern Conference. However, it hasnt' been that by any means as they have struggled to find their way defensively, which has been the route of their issues on the floor throughout the year. They have been one of the worst teams in the league in that regard, giving up 119.2 points per contest. The Hawks have allowed at least 120 points four times in the last five games. These defensive issues will continue to be a problem for them on their home floor on Saturday night in what should be a high-scoring affair.
It hasn't been entirely rough for the Hawks that has seen second-year point guard Trae Young truly take command as their primary offensive factor as he has put himself on the map as one of the league's best young talents. He has been putting forth a career-best campaign that has him currently third in the NBA with 30.1 points and second with 9.2 assists while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor. Young has been absolute tear over the last five games with four doubles including more than 25 points in each of his last four contests. That includes posting a career-high 50 points against the Miami Heat. If Atlanta hopes to top the Blazers that will need Young to put forth a strong offensive outing.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are:
- Atlanta is 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
- Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in their last five games against an opponent in the Eastern Conference conference.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Although this game will not have Lillard in the mix, it should be one of the more entertaining contests on Saturday night between these two teams. The Hawks may hold one of the worst records in the Eastern Conference; they have plenty of young talent to make it an exciting contest. In their last home game against the Orlando, they allowed them to cover a 7.5-point spread. However, it's too difficult to trust them to guide their way forward on their home floor as they have lost dropped 18 out of their 29 games in their arena. Meanwhile, the Blazers haven't fared much better, but they possess plenty of veteran talent that should lift to them to a win on the road.
Full-Game Total Pick
At the same time, there is too much here to not believe it won't go beyond the over/under line on Saturday night. The Hawks have simply been atrocious defensively this season that has seen them allow nearly 120 points per contest. If that doesn't scream it being a high-scoring affair on Friday, then I don't know what will to a higher degree. Keep in mind, they have allowed at least 120 in four out of their previous five games played. That alone should push betters to take the over on this contest. The Blazers may be without their leading scoring in Lillard, but they have capable offensive talents such as McCollum and Anthony that should take advantage of the situation.