Losing four of their five starters from the 2014-15 season should have consigned the Portland Trail Blazers to relative obscurity in 2015-16. Many projected them to be among the worst teams in the Western Conference. They weren't a squad you should bet on; they were a team that you should bet against. Alas, the Blazers surprised, well, everyone. They won 44 games, finishing with the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. And though they were bounced in the second round of the NBA playoffs, they showed spirit and fight. [+]

Their resilience makes you believe they have an incredibly bright future that could spill over into the sportsbooks.

Yet, as promising as the Blazers look, there are still so many unknowns for them to consider. Sames goes for sportsbettors.

Was this 2015-16 Blazers team for real? Are they really on the fast track toward title contention? Or are they just the product of an injury infested Western Conference?

Could they perhaps be the next version of the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns or the 2014-15 Milwaukee Bucks—teams that exceeded expectations, subsequently reinvested in their core, then fell off the postseason radar almost altogether?

These are the questions we need to answer. If this year was truly harbinger of what's to come, it's time to start viewing the Blazers as strong futures candidates.

You won't want to funnel huge amounts of money into their Western Conference and NBA title odds. The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs do exist, after all. 

But if they are able to keep building upon this core, starting this summer in free agency, they go from up and coming shock to legitimate everything threat.

Portland Trail Blazers Betting Lines Today

Have a look at the betting lines for the Portland Trail Blazers' next game. All the necessary numbers you need are here: start times, moneylines, spreads, over and unders. [+]

Try to make sure you're confirming these lines multiple times before placing your bet. If you jump on initial odds, that's great. But if you wait, it's imperative to see if the game's odds have changed.

Tweaks aren't typical of NBA regular season games. And if they happen, they're normally negligible. Still, drastic changes are a possibility, even if only slightly. It's best to be as informed as possible leading into your sportsbook transaction.

Thursday, Jul 23 15:30 EDT
NBA Preseason
Portland Trail Blazers
@
Indiana Pacers

This is the Portland Trail Blazers' entire schedule. It includes the scores from past games, making it a must-read tool for any thorough sportsbettors. [+]

Viewing future games will allow you to plan your betting blueprint ahead of time. You won't have the official lines, but comparing the Blazers' roster, play style and record to that of their opponets will help you decide how you should be betting, regardless of the spreads, moneylines, overs and unders.

By the time the odds are released, you'll have a strong, and accurate, inkling as to how you should use your money.

Looking at past scores, meanwhile, lets you piece together sustainable trends. Are the Blazers good at covering on their own court? Are they terrible covers on the road? Has their offense made them a good over play? Have they become an under play?

Answer these questions, among others, and you'll have armed yourself with the material necessary to dominate the betting scene.

Results / FixturesPortland Trailblazers

Portland Trail Blazers Standings Right Now

This is where the Portland Trail Blazers sit in the standings right now. Returning to this page often is a must-do for any midseason futures bettors. [+]

Seeing where the Blazers sit inside the Western Conference and relative to the rest of the league tells you whether they're more than just single game plays. If their record holds up against known conference and championship commodities, you'll have enough proof to start viewing them as genuine futures options at the sportsbook.

StandingsPortland Trailblazers

How To Win At Portland Trail Blazers Betting

Wait out the Portland Trail Blazers' offseason exploits before declaring them strong futures investments. This isn't just so you can see which players they add; it's so you can find out which players they plan on keeping.

Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard are all restricted free agents this summer. The Blazers have the right to match any contract offers they receive, giving them the ultimate control over each player's future. But this offseason's impending salary cap explosion could change everything.

There will be teams who are desperate—franchises with money to spend that have no qualms about overpaying for mid-end flyers. All three of Portland's restricted free agents could fetch fat deals on the open market, the values of which could prove too expensive for the front office's checking account. And if they lose any of these players, especially Crabbe, they will be hard pressed to find adequate replacements.

On the flip side, though, the Blazers have an opportunity most other squads don't.

Because the cap holds on restricted free agents are so low until they sign their next deal, general manager Neil Olshey can feasibly carve out $20-plus million in cap space without losing any of the aforementioned three. They would drop their free agent holds on Gerald Henderson, Chris Kaman and Brian Roberts, use their cap space to sign a star or multiple roles players, then go over the cap to re-sign any restricted free agents they're intersted in keeping.

 

So it's most definitely possible that the Blazers improve enough to warrant your conference and NBA title attention. It's just a matter of waiting to see what they exactly do: who they re-sign, who they lose and who they add.

No matter what happens to the Blazers' roster over the offseason, there will be two rules of thumb for regular bettors to follow.

First, whenver they are home underdogs, experiment with betting on them to cover the spread. The Blazers were pretty much just as good at home in 2015-16 as the Los Angeles Clippers, who are reflexively mentioned in the same breath as the NBA's premier contenders.

Portland is the Blazers' safehaven. They can compete with, they can beat, any team on their home floor. To that end, rolling with the moneyline in these situations isn't a terrible idea, either—so long as the odds are worth it.

Sportsbooks aren't ignorant of the Blazers' success at home, so if you're not getting a huge return for picking them to outright win against, say, the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs, don't bother with the moneyline. Stick with the spreads.

Second, and equally important, the Blazers, as currently constructed, are solid over plays. They attack with deliberate pace, shoot a ton of threes, run a lot of pick-and-rolls and just generally get buckets.

And while they can lock down defensively at points, they are typically going to relinquish a ton of points on the defensive end. It's a symptom of playing with pace and, mostly, fielding a backcourt duo in C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard that doesn't make for a strong defensive partnership. 

Feel free to deviate from this stance when they're playing a truly tough defensive team like the Spurs. The spreads and moneylines will be more appealing in those situations.

But, for the most part, the Blazers' current play style is conducive to a good amount of over investments.