Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Preview – NBA, February 22, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 22, 2021 8:07 am PDT

The Suns will be hoping to eclipse the Trail Blazers tonight and maintain their advantage over them in the Western Conference. Only one win separates these two teams this season, and therefore this is a crunch game in the Western Conference.

Much like their overall records this season, their recent head-to-head records are close. That’s a lie. They are identical over the past six games as both teams have picked up three wins each. However, Portland has loved visiting Phoenix as they have won on seven of their previous eight visits. The only plus for the Suns is they won the most recent game in Phoenix between the two teams.

Over the previous ten meetings, the Trail Blazers are averaging six more points per game over the Suns. This is mostly down to quick starts, something they will be hoping for tonight.

Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.

Trail Blazers vs. Suns Odds

Trail Blazers (+6) -110
Suns (-6) -110
Trail Blazers To Win +220
Suns To Win -230
Over 229 Points -110
Under 229 Points -110

I assumed that the Suns would be favorites tonight, but I didn’t imagine the spread would be this big. I thought it would be around half of what it has been set at tonight. The points total looks a little big at first glance, which is interesting as it’s increased by a point and a half since the betting opened.

Trail Blazers Analysis

Portland’s Trail of six wins in a row came to an end last time out when the Wizards beat them. Although it might appear that would be a terrible result given Washington’s lowly standings in the Eastern Conference, they are also on a decent run at present themselves. It was a topsy-turvy game in which each team dominated two-quarters of the match each as no quarter was won by less than ten points.

Portland has a good record on their travels this season, having won ten of their 15 games on the road. This also includes winning five of their previous six away fixtures and the last three in a row.

Here are the latest betting trends for Portland:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have won six of their last seven games.
Total The total has gone over in 11 of their previous 16 matches.
ATS Portland has lost four of their last five games against Phoenix.
ATS The Trail Blazers have only lost one of their previous six games on the road.
Total Five of their last seven games against teams in the Western Conference have gone over the betting total.
SU They have won four of their previous six games against teams from the Pacific Division.

The above data confirms my initial thoughts that the spread looks big here. However, it does point to a high-scoring game, so perhaps 229 points isn’t low after all.

Portland has a fantastic offense this season that is averaging 115 points per game. This is despite only having a field goal percentage of 44%. However, they are shooting well from range which has helped them to achieve such a good average. C. J. McCollum and Damian Lillard have been the catalyst behind their successful three-point shooting this season, both averaging four three-pointers per game.

McCollum has recently attracted attention from the Knicks, and they are monitoring him closely at present. Although he will be missing tonight as he is out with a foot injury.

They also have a good success rate from the free-throw line, which suggests that they have excellent shooting ability but are often trying to force the issue. This is highlighted by them having the lowest assist count in the NBA this season, as it proves they aren’t making as many openings as you might expect for a team that has such a high scoring average.

However, they aren’t turning the ball over much either, so perhaps they are passing well but not quick enough to make those openings which would help improve their field goal percentage.

Their defense is poor and is conceding on average 115 points per match. They try to play a high pressing game, but it hasn’t worked this season, and they need to revise their game plan.

Damian Lillard has recently been in awe-inspiring form, which has seen him rise five places in the MVP ladder up to third. If this form continues, he will certainly be in with a great chance of winning the prestigious award this season.

As well as McCollum, the Trail Blazers will miss Nurkic, Giles, and Collins, who are all out with various injuries.

Suns Analysis

The Suns are arguably the most in-form team in the NBA right now after winning 11 of their previous 13 matches. They have recorded some big margin victories during this rich vein of form, including the last two as they beat the Pelicans by 18 and the Grizzlies by 31 last time out. It was a complete performance against the Grizzlies as they kept them scoring under 100 points.

They have an identical record at home as the Trail Blazers have on the road with ten wins and five losses. They had won seven games in a row at home before they lost to the Nets in their last home fixture.

Here are the latest betting trends for Phoenix:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Suns have won eight of their previous nine matches.
Total Six of their last seven games have gone over the betting total.
Total The total has gone over in four of their previous six games against Portland.
ATS They have won seven of their last eight home games.
SU Phoenix has only lost one of their last six games against teams in the Western Conference.
Total Four of their previous six games played on a Monday have gone over the points total.

This all shows what great form they are in and also points towards a high-scoring encounter.

The Suns have a pretty good offense that I believe should be scoring more points each night than they do. However, their offensive rebounding is letting them down badly.

Much like their opponents tonight, they are deadly from the free-throw line, so it will be necessary for both teams to remain disciplined.

Another critical area in the match will be ball retention. Both teams do this very well and like to control the game by having the lion’s share of the ball. They both don’t make many turnovers, so it will be interesting to see who wins this battle tonight. You would probably give a slight edge to the Trail Blazers in this department because the Suns aren’t very good at winning the ball off of their opponents.

They have a great defense that also likes to press high, but they do it so much better than the Trail Blazers do. Again, their defensive rebounding isn’t the best, but it’s a lot better than their offensive rebounding. Because they press so high, they don’t tend to make many blocks either.

Deandre Ayton has improved his defensive game this season, but this comes at a cost as his scoring is severely down on last season, and they will need him to return to his former self if they are going to make a run deep into the playoffs this season.

The Suns have no listed absentees for tonight’s matchup.

Trail Blazers vs. Suns Pick

Pick
  • Trail Blazers (+6)
    -110

These are two closely matched teams, both in excellent form, and therefore this should be a fascinating game. I think the Trail Blazers scoring will keep them close to the Suns and indefinitely see them winning with the handicap. If they didn’t have as many injuries as they do, I would be tempted to pick them to win straight up.

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