NBA Basketball: Boston Celtics VS Portland Trail Blazers Pick and Predictions 03/17/2023

by James Q

NBA Basketball: Boston Celtics VS Portland Trail Blazers Pick and Predictions 03/17/2023

Game: 10:10 PM ET,  Friday, March 17th, 2023
Venue: Moda Center at the Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
TV:  NBA League Pass
Season Record
Celtics: 48-22, 2nd place Eastern Conference
Blazers: 31-38, 13th place Western Conference

Opening NBA odds at USA Sportsbooks

BetMGM:  Point Spread: Celtics -4.5, O/U 230.5
PointsBet: Point Spread: Celtics -4.5, O/U 230
Fanduel: Point Spread:  Celtics -4.5, O/U 230

Starting Five:

Celtics: PG Marcus Smart, SG Jaylen Brown, SF Jayson Tatum (DD), PF Al Horford, C Mike Muscala
Blazers: PG Damian Lilliard, SG Anfernee Simons, SF Matisse Thybulle, PF Jerami Grant (DD), C Jusuf Nurkic

Another NBA mismatch slated for Friday night.  An interconference bit of nothingness.  However this nothingness has a smaller than usual point spread because of Boston’s injury woes (Tatum is listed as Day to Day and C Robert Williams III is Out) and Portland’s legendary PG Damian Lilliard having again pledged his loyalty to building something in Portland instead of chasing a title by requesting a trade!  So we get a 4.5 point spread in a mismatch.  The Boston Celtics have the better starting five and the better bench.  The Portland Trail Blazers have played musical chairs with the starting five to “get a look” at all the new players since the trade deadline… without really trying to win (because of the Draft Lottery coming up soon).  The great betting opportunity here is in knowing the Celtics are better and deciding if 4.5 is worth the risk?

The Boston Celtics have won 5 of their last 10 games and got passed by the Bucks in the standings which has dropped them to 2nd place in the East.  They went 4-6 ATS as their struggles have mounted.  They did win their last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-102… which was a loss ATS.  In the win they got 35 points & 10 rebounds from SG Jalen Brown who was playing the SF spot.  They got 22 points & 12 rebounds from SF Jayson Tatum who was playing the PF spot.  The Celtics struggles have been mostly due to a lack of big men because of health.  

The Portland Trail Blazers have won only 3 of their last 10 games.  They are on a 4-game losing streak.  They went 4-6 ATS during that stretch.  They lost their last game to the New York Knicks 123 -107.  In the loss they got 38 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists from PG Damian Lilliard, 22 points from SG Anfernee Simons, and the 3 other Blazers starters all had double figures… The big problem was they were playing without PF Jerami Grant AND the bench was an awful no-show.

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Boston Celtics VS Portland Trail Blazers Prediction

Our prediction for Friday, March 17th is…. Celtics 131 - Blazers 109

Bet on the Celtics.  Blazers PF Jerami Grant will not be rushed back onto the court.  He can only hurt himself again and he is a big part of the future plans after this lost season.  The Blazers will slow roll everyone as they wait to see what Draft Pick they land.

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NBA Betting Trends

Boston is 2-0 ATS versus Portland in Portland the last 3 seasons.
Portland is 10-3 ATS after a blowout loss of 15 points or more this season.

Players To Watch

Celtics: SG Jaylen Brown.  Brown is a big scorer.  National attention may all deservedly fall on Jayson Tatum’s shoulders… but this team has a high powered duo… not a solo act.  Brown provides intense two-way play that makes him one of the best 2-guards in the entire league.

Blazers: PG Damian Lilliard.  A true legend that still has plenty of NBA years ahead… and has signed up for a lot of losing with his loyalty to the team that drafted him and paid him.  Ii would love to see him on Denver or in Miami chasing a ring… BUT there is true dignity in the path that he has chosen.


Celtics: Joe “Lucky GuY” Mazzula
Blazers: Chauncey “mr cool” Billups

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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