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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns NBA Gambling Preview & Pick

PDX vs Phoenix NBA Betting Odds

The season-opening matchup between the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns won’t garner much national attention, but each respective fanbase has its own reason to tune in on Wednesday, Oct. 30. [ad-4468020]

Portland Trail Blazers (0-0) vs. Phoenix Suns (0-0)
Wednesday, Oct. 30 10:00 PM ET @ US Airways Center
Spread: Portland -5.5
O/U: 198

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For the Phoenix faithful, this season is all about the future and making the 2014 NBA lottery. For the Blazers, it’s about returning to the postseason and convincing LaMarcus Aldridge that Portland is the place to be long term.

Portland

The Trail Blazers enter the 2013-14 season hoping for a return to the postseason, but above all else, this team hopes to remain relevant. This group has been in limbo the past few seasons, but the development of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard give the organization faith moving forward.

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Against Phoenix, look for the Blazers to work out a few of the kinks they had during the preseason. First and foremost, that means establishing a clear-cut rotation. This team has dealt with injuries all training camp, and the core has spent very little time together as the new year approaches.

Offensively, look for Aldridge to exploit a week interior defense. Marcin Gortat was a solid shot-blocking presence for Phoenix last year, but the recent trade that sent him to the Washington Wizards took that away in a flash.

The other player to watch is Lillard. The point guard will be challenged defensively against Goran Dragic—a crafty point guard who can find the paint with ease—but on offense, he’ll have his way with a player who is a subpar defender at this point in his career. [ad-6571516]

Lillard and the rest of the team will be baited into a lot of three-point attempts, and if they’re anything like last season, they’ll take them without question.

Phoenix

Following the trade that sent Gortat to Washington, it became clear that Phoenix has two things in mind entering this season. First and foremost, they are all in on the 2014 draft. Trading one of their most productive players makes no sense unless they are tanking, and the draft pick they got in return solidifies that thought.

The other thing the trade did is show the team’s commitment to rookie big man Alex Len. The problem is that Len is questionable for the opening-night contest against Portland, as he’s seen limited action over the summer with an ankle injury.

What Phoenix will do well is push the tempo early and often. This team has been known for a long time as a run-and-gun offense, and while they don’t have nearly as many scorers as they did in the Mike D’Antoni days, they still have the mindset of a team looking to run you out of the building.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, as bad as the offense was last season (95.2 points), its defense was even worse. The team allowed 101.6 points per game, and ridding themselves of Gortat isn’t going to help in that category.

Look for the Trail Blazers to steal the first game on the road. Portland is far from a contender at this point in its rebuild, but it has more talent in its starting lineup than the Suns have in their entire roster. Expect a lot of shots by both teams, but don’t be shocked when the Blazers walk away victorious on the road.

Prediction: Portland 105 – Phoenix 95

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