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San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Gambling Preview & Pick

San Antonio vs Portland NBA Betting Odds

The San Antonio Spurs may be the defending Western Conference champions, but like every year, they’re being heavily overlooked early in the 2013-14 NBA season. [ad-4468020]

San Antonio Spurs (2-0) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (1-1)
Saturday, Nov. 2 10:00 PM ET @ Moda Center
Spread: Portland -1
O/U: 197.5

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The truth is that their championship window is closing, and early-season contests aren’t nearly as concerning as late-season battles.

San Antonio

That said, the Portland Trail Blazers will give them a run for their money, as they’re coming off of a solid road win against the Denver Nuggets.

The San Antonio Spurs remain one of the most experienced teams in the NBA. More importantly, they’re one of the best-coached teams in The Association, which is why they’ll compete atop the conference the entire 2013-14 season.

Unfortunately for the Spurs, the heart and soul of their team is questionable entering Saturday’s contest. Tim Duncan missed the second game of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers, as he was remedying a chest contusion suffered in the season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Defensively, San Antonio will hope to contain former Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard. The point guard has played extremely well so far this season, and more importantly, he’s played extremely efficiently. The main point of focus of the Spurs’ defense will be LaMarcus Aldridge, especially if Duncan is unable to participate.

Additionally, the Spurs must focus on defending the three-point line.

The Blazers aren’t afraid of launching from downtown, and if their game against Denver proved anything, it’s that they’re beyond dangerous when they’re hitting from long range.  [ad-6571516]

On offense, the strategy has to be attacking the rim. Tony Parker will be able to penetrate against Lillard, and Lopez, the Trail Blazers’ newest starting center, has shown through two contests that he can be pressured down low by opposing offenses.

Portland

The Blazers may have dropped a winnable game against the Phoenix Suns in their season opener, but they made up for it with a strong win against the Denver Nuggets—an opponent they don’t usually take down on the road.

In Game 3, Portland plays its home opener against a true contender. The key to this contest is going to be a hot start, as that’s what separated its first two contests. Against Phoenix, the team couldn’t score early, and more importantly, it couldn’t stop transition buckets.

Against Denver, Portland found a way to push the tempo, and it played defense that was good enough to hold its opponent to a low percentage.

From a historical standpoint, the Trail Blazers have won 12 straight home openers. They have momentum after a big-time win against a Western Conference opponent, and the significant difference between Game 1 and Game 2 was a concentration on bench production and pick-and-roll defense.

The Blazers may not be the favorites entering the contest in the eyes of most around the country, but they’re in a strong position to start the season off on the right foot.

San Antonio will give them a run for their money, but the Blazers will come away with an important victory at the Moda Center—formerly known as the Rose Garden.

Prediction: San Antonio 97 – Blazers 101

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