Are the Blazers a legitimate title threat?(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Trail Blazers NBA Championship Odds shortened from +8500 to +5500 after the trade deadline
- Center Jusuf Nurkic is also returning to the lineup after a two month absence from broken hand
- Are the Blazers the Championship Contender That Everyone Is Sleeping On? See their odds across the sportsbooks within the article below
There were more winners than losers on NBA trade deadline day, and we will not know who truly is the biggest winner until we get through the playoffs.
One team that seems like an immediate winner is the Portland Trail Blazers who struck gold, and everyone is sleeping on them except for the ad agency folks who had the foresight to put Damian Lillard in HULU commercials.
Portland acquired a stud in trading for Norman Powell from Toronto, and on Friday they get center Jusuf Nurkic back from a broken hand. They are whole again, and they are more dangerous than they were 24 hours ago.
And when you see the sportsbooks all over the board on something, consider it a clue to finding a possible hidden gem.
Portland Trail Blazers 2021 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||Odds at FanDuel||Odds at DraftKings||Odds at PointsBet||Odds at BetMGM||Odds at WilliamHill|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+4500||+5500||+6000||+6600||+6000|
Odds taken from sportsbooks on March 26th.
FanDuel actually shortened the odds from +8500 to +5500 early Friday morning, and the very few believers that the Blazers have probably took advantage to trigger such a significant move.
Nurkic and Powell Additions Huge for Contention
The Blazers begin the weekend with a record of 26-18 after last night’s road victory at Miami. They are spending a four-day stretch in Florida, playing Orlando tonight and the Toronto (Tampa) Raptors on Sunday before traveling Detroit for a gimme win against the Pistons. Going 4-0 on the trip would elevate them 11 games over .500.
They are only two games behind the third place Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference, and they will finally be whole tonight as center Jusuf Nurkic returns from a two-month absence due to a broken hand.
We playing the most interesting games ever 😬 great win 💪🏻💪🏻 #ripcity
— Jusuf Nurkić (@bosnianbeast27) March 26, 2021
Nurkic has played only 12 games and C.J. McCollum has played only 19, yet the Blazers have stayed well above .500 despite those absences. Nurkic is arguably the second-best player on the team.
How Will Powell Fit Into the Backcourt?
What’s important moving forward is seeing how coach Terry Stotts incorporates Norman Powell into the lineup after the Blazers acquired him from Toronto at the trade deadline in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
Trent had been averaging 15 points and was a starter in 23 games, but the Blazers feared losing him in free agency and were able to get Powell, who was averaging nearly 20 points per game for a Raptors team that has already won the award for being the East’s biggest underachievers.
Norman Powell: Inspiration, NBA Champion, and Raptor forever.@stackmack 📰 » https://t.co/umz01cnyiX pic.twitter.com/8E95vkgRW9
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 26, 2021
Powell is a distinct upgrade on Trent, who could not eclipse the 40 percent barrier from beyond the arc – a good barometer for the effectiveness of a shooting guard. Powell is making his 3s at a percentage of 43.9 percent and is at 49.8 percent overall.
He will likely replace Derrick Jones Jr. as the starting small forward, joining Lillard, McCollum, Robert Covington and Nurkic in the starting lineup. They are finally whole again.
The Blazers are favored by 11 on Friday, the biggest line among the 11 NBA games on the schedule.
2021 NBA MVP Award Odds Tracker
Will the National Media Respect the Blazers?
You would be hard-pressed to find a major national media personality who is going to bat for the Blazers as a legitimate championship contender in the NBA Championship odds.
In a season in which the focus has been on the high-profile teams in the largest markets (Nets, Sixers, Lakers, Clippers) the Blazers fall at the expense of fellow overachievers such as the Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns.
When you at peace it’s all white noise 🙏🏽 https://t.co/C0wfsbUcAx
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) March 26, 2021
There are still 26 games remaining in this elongated NBA season which started much later than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic. Our NBA body clocks are all wired to expect April to be the month when seedings are figured out and coaches adjust their rotations to get ready for the postseason (or, in the case of tanking teams, to improve their lottery odds).
But this particular NBA season will not end until the third week of May, which is a blessing for all of the teams that made significant acquisitions because working in a highly-talented newcomer is not the easiest thing. Michael Malone will have to do it in Denver with Aaron Gordon, Billy Donovan will have to do it in Chicago with Nikola Vucevic, and Erik Spoelstra will have to do it in Miami with Victor Oladipo.
Sportsbook Data on Portland
At DraftKings, Portland ranks 11th in handle (1%) and 13th in bets (2%), spokeswoman Remington Parker said. At PointsBet, the Blazers are taking 1.4% of bets to win title – the 14th most bet team. In terms of handle, they are taking 1% of money wagered – the 13th most, spokesman Wyatt Yearout said.
According to @jwquick, #TrailBlazers #Blazers president Neil Olshey is eyeing both the buyout market and the trade market to fill their last roster spot with a player who will unquestionably be in the rotation for the rest of the season.
— Kyle Cohen (@kylecohenNBA) March 10, 2021
The Blazers probably will not be a destination team for the players now getting buyouts, a list that includes Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins and LaMarcus Aldridge. Lillard is second in the NBA in scoring (30 PPG) and is tied for fourth in minutes played, and Enes Kanter filled in so well at center during Nurkic’s absence that he is fifth in the league in rebounding at 11.7 per game.
Now he loses his starting spot to Nurkic, the Bosnian Beast who helped Portland go 6-2 in the bubble last season before they went out 4-1 in the first round against the Lakers.
At their current odds, no team is more worthy of a flyer wager than these guys.
Chris Sheridan has been covering sports gambling since 2018 when PASPA was overturned. a veteran journalist with 30+ years experience covering sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, SheridanHoops and BasketballNews.com, he has been at the forefront of sports gambling coverage since it was legalized.