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Trail Blazers title odds bolstered by improved health, new playoff format

We break down how Portland’s playoff and title odds look ahead of the regular season’s restart on July 31.

Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers smile before the game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 18, 2019 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA has finalized a 22-team field that is set to continue playing this season after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the season to a halt, and the Portland Trail Blazers will be in the mix. The regular season is set to resume on July 31, and Portland is 3 12 games back from the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference. If the Trail Blazers stay within four games of the Grizzlies, they can earn a play-in series and punch their ticket to the playoffs.

The Trail Blazers’ production was hindered by injuries this season, but they’re about to get a big boost from some players who have improved their health during the long break caused by the pandemic. Damian Lillard, who sat out of All-Star Weekend because of a groin strain, will have had four months to recover by the time basketball returns after playing four games in March. Jusuf Nurkic hasn’t played all season because of a leg fracture he suffered in 2018-19, but is now set to return and join Hassan Whiteside to form a physically imposing front court.

While Lillard and Nurkic will be key pieces to the Trail Blazers’ starting lineup, bench help will be important too — especially since Rodney Hood is out for the year with a torn Achilles. Zach Collins hasn’t played since he suffered a shoulder injury in October and should re-join the team in July. He should be able to provide support in the post.

Portland Trail Blazers Championship odds

Portland was +20000 on DraftKings SportsBook on May 13 but has seen its odds jump to +17000 since the new format was announced. Its odds to make the playoffs are +450 while its odds to miss out clock in at -835.

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