NBA fans got a small taste of a return to basketball Tuesday night, but they’ll get a full dose of it on Wednesday night. The Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers are preparing for a 10 pm ET tip-off inside Moda Center in Portland, Oregon — the second-to-last game on Wednesday.
The Trail Blazers are without power forward Zach Collins. They also have shooting guard Anfernee Simons and small forward Nassir Little listed as day-to-day.
As for the Jazz, they have Derrick Favors listed as day-to-day but are healthy otherwise.
The two teams had completely different preseasons, so it’ll be interesting to see how they open the regular season. The Jazz won all three of their preseason games, two against Phoenix and one against the Clippers.
Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers lost three of their four matchups, two vs. Denver and two vs. the Kings.
Can the Jazz continue what they started in preseason?
The Jazz were the only team in the Northwest Division to finish the preseason undefeated — a division that also includes the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Thunder. They’re playing in the tough Western Conference, which means every win matters just as much as the last.
The Jazz are led by Donovon Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, and Joe Ingles. They’ll need all four of them to stay healthy and perform well each night to earn a high seed in the West.
They’ll also need players like Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic to chip in when it matters most.
Will the Trail Blazers find their groove?
The Trail Blazers were just 1-3 in the preseason, but they’re a much better team than that record implies. They’re more sound on offense than defense, but having Jusuf Nurkic healthy will do wonders down low.
They also still have Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum leading the backcourt.
This offseason, the team added Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., and Enes Kanter — all of whom will play major roles for the Trail Blazers this season. They also brought back Carmelo Anthony, who is proving he still has several years left in the tank. This is definitely a fun team to watch!
Betting Odds & Lines
Who do you think opens their season with a much-needed victory on Wednesday night? FanDuel Sportsbook has the Portland Trail Blazers as 1.5-point favorites over the Utah Jazz. It also has the over/under listed at 229 total points.
Free Betting Pick
The Utah Jazz are more of a defensive team, while the Trail Blazers pride themselves on offense. In other words, it should make for an exciting opening night for the two teams.
It won’t be available on national television, but the betting lines are certainly open for anyone interested!
I’ve got the Trail Blazers getting it done in the fourth quarter, in large thanks to a strong outing from Lillard. He has the pieces around him to go all the way this year, but it won’t be easy in the Western Conference.
Getting past teams like Utah early in the season will bode well for their confidence.
Final Score Prediction 121-115, Portland Trail Blazers.
Free Pick: Portland Trail Blazers (-1.5)
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