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February 3, 2017

There is one NBA pick tonight.

Take Portland Blazers -5 spread (buy half a point) against Dallas Mavericks for 3% of the bankroll.

The Trail Blazers currently occupy the 8th and final playoff spot and can't afford to drop home games such as this against lesser opposition. Portland is facing stiff competition in the Western conference and has a number of teams closing in on them in the standings. The Nuggets are just half a game behind and are not the only squad breathing down their necks. Mark Cuban's Mavs are one of those teams now chasing them after a recent hot stretch that has seen them win 3 in a row! Terry Stotts will have his team ready given the position they find themselves in. They can ill-afford to drop winnable games such as this and by doing so, would essentially be kissing their postseason hopes goodbye. Look for Portland to fend off the competition and put some daylight in the standings between the two franchises with a convincing victory tonight.

Rick Carlisle deserves credit for having the Mavericks playing hard regardless of who's on the court or not. Starting PG Deron Williams remains out while his normally serviceable backup, in form of the veteran JJ Barrea is also injured. That means the likes of Yogi Ferrell, who is on a 10-day contract have been signed and immediately thrusted into the starting lineup and while he and company have done well so far, we believe they'll come back down to earth tonight. It doesn't help that even their 3rd choice pointguard and ball-handler Devin Harris is questionable tonight and currently dealing with an illness! Seth Curry and Yogi have surpassed expectations and filled in nicely enough in the back-court but shouldn't be expected to continue at this level. Facing the extremely talented and dynamic back-court duo of Lillard and McCollum, we believe they'll find it tough to keep pace tonight.

Not only are Portland the healthier team right now, dealing with far fewer injuries, they are also simply the better team. Let's not forget that while their record is underwhelming so far this season, this roster hasn't hit its heights yet. It's only a matter of time before they 'click' and go on a hot streak as they did around this time last year. They are better than their current record indicates and we believe will have a fairly easy time of it against the injury-depleted Mavs tonight. As if Lillard and company needed extra motivation for this contest, they remember that Dallas came to Moda Center and beat them in late December! This isn't a squad that takes home losses lightly. They have great 'home court' advantage and will be out for payback tonight.

Dallas may have surprised the Spurs and Cavaliers recently but we believe those two sides made the mistake of overlooking them given the David vs. Goliath media comparisons heading into that matchup. The Blazers will be more wary than that. They are not an established powerhouse to get complacent and will see a hot Mavs team come to town that has already beaten them on their home court. Look for an energetic and entertaining performance as they settle the score and fend off Dallas' surge. Keep in mind that the Mavs are only 7-18 on the road this season and are far from a quality team on their travels! Portlad, however, has a solid winning record at home and has several edges tonight. Back them at this relatively short spread as they come away with a comfortable victory.

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