C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers will host Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Damian Lillard (groin) is set to miss the next few games for the Blazers, who will also be without Mario Hezonja (leg). The Pelicans, meanwhile, have a clean injury report heading into their post All-Star Break playoff push.
Tip-off is set for 10:30 p.m ET from the Moda Center. Sportsbooks list the Pelicans as 4.5-point road favorites, while the over-under for total points is 238.5 in the latest Pelicans vs. Blazers odds. Before you make any Blazers vs. Pelicans picks or NBA predictions, see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated spread and money line picks. It's already returned over $3,000 in profit on all top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and entered Week 18 on a blistering 35-19 run on all top-rated spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Pelicans vs. Blazers spread: New Orleans -4.5
- Pelicans vs. Blazers over-under: 238.5 points
- Pelicans vs. Blazers money line: New Orleans -175, Portland +145
- NOP: The Pelicans are 10-3-2 ATS in their past 15 road games.
- POR: The Trail Blazers have the NBA's third-worst cover rate ATS this season, at just 41.8 percent.
Why the Pelicans can cover
The model is well aware that without Lillard, Portland's offense is going to struggle. Per cleaningtheglass.com, Portland's offense has scored 12.4 fewer points per 100 possessions with Lillard off the court, a 98th percentile impact relative to all other qualified players. Plus, the Pelicans handed the Trail Blazers a 21-point loss in their second-to-last game prior to the All-Star Break, and Lillard was healthy for that game. With Lillard out of the picture, defensive stoppers Holiday and Lonzo Ball can focus all of their attention on McCollum.
Rookie phenom Zion Williamson closed the first half with a bang, topping 30 points in back-to-back games. The best game of his young career came against Portland, as he finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists in just 28 minutes during the blowout victory. Portland's 26th-ranked defense has no answer for Williamson's physicality, as he bullied Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside in the last meeting between these two teams.
Why the Blazers can cover
Even so, New Orleans isn't a lock to cover the Pelicans vs. Blazers spread. The model is well aware that the young Pelicans have struggled with inconsistency when playing away from New Orleans all season. The Pelicans' +1.1 point differential when playing at home drops to -4.3 on the road, and they've covered just 50 percent of road spreads on the year.
And while the absence of Lillard certainly hurts, the Trail Blazers have to feel encouraged by what they saw from second-year guard Anfernee Simons in the final game before the All-Star Break. Simons hit 6-of-7 three pointers in that game and finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. Youngsters Simons and Gary Trent Jr. have shown flashes this season, and they played well enough the last time Lillard was out to help Portland put up 129 points and cover the spread against an elite Milwaukee defense.
How to make Pelicans vs. Blazers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total. In fact, the model is projecting McCollum, Williamson, and Anthony all to finish above their scoring averages. It also has generated an against-the-spread pick that says one side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations.
So who wins Trail Blazers vs. Pelicans? And which side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers spread you need to jump on Friday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.