Portland Trail Blazers: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
The Portland Trail Blazers entered the NBA in 1970. While the team struggled in their inaugural season going 29-53,they did have a talented young team, with Geoff Petrie winning Rookie of the Year after the 1970-71 season. Though they continued to struggle, they produced another Rookie of the Year winner in Year 2 when Sidney Wicks won the award. All told, the team failed to make the playoffs in any of its first six seasons, never winning more than 38 games.
However, in 1976-77, the Portland Trail Blazers odds would change dramatically, as the team, under new coach Jack Ramsay, went 49-33 in the regular season, and then star player Bill Walton led them on a stunning run through the Western conference playoffs. Portland knocked out the Bulls, Nuggets, and Lakers, dropping only three games in the process, to advance to the NBA Finals. While fewer people bet on the Portland Trail Blazers to win than they did Julius Irving’s 76ers. Portland won the series in six games as Walton was named Finals MVP.
While some would bet on the Portland Trail Blazers to become a perennial title contender, that remains the only championship in franchise history. The 1977-78 Portland trail Blazers odds looked even better than the previous year when they started 50-10, but Walton, who was named league MVP, suffered a foot injury that would affect him for the remainder of his career, and the team was knocked out of the playoffs by Seattle in the first round.
That loss started a series of first round exits, as they ultimately bowed out in their first series four straight times before missing the postseason entirely in 1982. After being knocked out of the 1983 postseason, the Portland Trail Blazers odds would revert to contender when they selected Clyde “the Glide” Drexler in the 1983 draft. While Drexler was taken with the 14th overall pick, in the following draft Portland had the second overall pick, and used it to select center Sam Bowie out of Kentucky, rather than North Carolina shooting guard Michael Jordan.
The Blazers would win a series in the 1985 playoffs before being knocked out by the Lakers, after which they would draft Terry Porter. When the team was once again knocked out in the first round, this time by the Nuggets, Portland fired longtime coach Jack Ramsay.
While many people bet on the Portland Trail Blazers after a 1986-87 season that saw new coach Mike Schulerget named Coach of the Year, the team bowed out to the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. In the following two years, they were eliminated by Utah in the first round of the playoffs, and Schuler had been replaced by Rick Adelman.
Anyone who bet on the Portland Trail Blazers to lose their sixth straight postseason series was disappointed in 1989-90, as the team, now led by Drexler, Porter, Jerome Kersey, and Buck Williams, went 59-23 in the regular season, and defeated Dallas, San Antonio, and Pheonix to make its second NBA finals appearance.
Ultimately, anyone who bet on the Portland Trail Blazers to win it all was disappointed as the team fell to the Detroit Pistons in five games. After a bitterly disappointing conference finals loss to the Lakers in 1991, Drexler and company avenged their loss to the Lakers in 1992, then knocked out the Suns and Jazz to set up a Finals matchup against Michael Jordan and the defending champion Chicago Bulls. While Drexler was sensational, Jordan and the Bulls overcame Portland and won the series in six games.
Instead of returning to the Finals, Portland would begin a stretch where they lost in the first round of six consecutive postseasons. By 1999 they had built around a core of Isaiah Rider, Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire and Arvydas Sabonis. The Portland Trail Blazers odds returned to favorite status, but the team was upended by the duo of Tim Duncan and David Robinson in the conference finals. The following season, the team which added Scottie Pippen, went 59-23, and while many bet on the Portland Trail Blazers to win it all, they lost a decisive seventh game to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s Lakers team.
It would be fourteen long years before the team won another playoff series, first enduring another streak of first-round exits, then missing the postseason entirely from 2004 through 2008. The Portland Trail Blazers odds would change again in 2012 when the team drafted point guard Damian Lillard out of Weber State.
Lillard would win Rookie of the Year, and by his second season the Portland Trail Blazers odds were back to contender-level, with the team winning playoff series in 2014 and 2016. In the 2019 postseason, the backcourt duo of Lillard and shooting guard C.J. McCollum led Portland to playoff series wins over Oklahoma City and Denver, before they were swept by Golden State in the conference finals. The team took a step back in 2019-20, losing in the first round of the Orlando playoff bubble to the eventual champion Lakers and falling in the first round to Denver in 2021.
In 2021-22, the Blazers finished the season 27-55, their worst record in 16 years, but with superstar Damian Lillard healthy again after playing just 29 games in 2021-22, things are looking up for Portland.