The Portland Trailblazers are looking for a little boost and a lot of luck when they square off against the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow at 10 p.m. at the Moda Center.
The Blazers have lost five of their past six games and are clinging to the 10th seed in the Western Conference. A win over the Bucks, who hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
A win to provide a much-needed jolt of confidence to a team that’s struggling to find their identity without star Damian Lillard.
In a post-game press conference after the Blazers’ 99-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week, coach Chauncey Billups summed up what the Blazers faithful have felt all season. The team just can’t seem to break through and get momentum.
“There were some really big moments but we just couldn’t get over the hump. A missed shot here. A turnover here….so we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Maybe not the most exciting game for sports bettors in OR, but here’s a review for the upcoming mid-season game.
Blazers vs. Bucks: what to expect
Two factors working against the Blazers as they look ahead to their game with the Bucks. Poor performances in their past seven games and a bottom-three defensive rating.
Portland has won one game in their past six, a 125-110 victory over the lowly Rockets. The six losses have been decisive losses, save for a two-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
That streak doesn’t bode well for the Blazers, as the Bucks have won five of their last seven. The two teams seem to be headed in different directions this season. The Bucks, a lock for a top-five seed in the playoffs and the Blazers scraping for a spot in the play-in round.
Also of concern is the Blazers inability to muster an efficient defense. The team’s defensive rating is the third-worst in the league. Meanwhile, the Bucks have a top-10 offensive rating.
The Blazers haven’t beaten an opponent with a top-10 offensive rating in nearly a month. And have only won four games against those opponents since Nov. 30.
Oddsmakers negative on Portland’s rest-of-season chances
The outlook for the rest of the Blazers’ season isn’t looking too optimistic. DraftKings has Portland as a +50000 long-shot to win the title, no surprises there. And a +20000 underdog to win the Western Conference.
And, because Rip City has virtually no chance to chase down the division-leading Utah Jazz, the DraftKings moneyline for the Blazers to finish as division winners is +100000.
As for how many games the Blazers will win by the end of the season, DraftKings has set the line at 35.5. If that line holds and the Blazers hit the under, it will be the first time in the past season the team will finish with less than 35 victories since the 2012-2013 season.
Coincidentally, that’s the last time the Blazers didn’t make it to the postseason.
Integral in the Trailblazers miserable outlook for the rest of the season is Lillard’s absence. The star underwent abdominal surgery on Jan. 13.
The team will assess his recovery in six to eight weeks. Should Lillard return in six weeks (around the end of this month), the line for the Blazers‘ win total will likely move.