Thursday NBA Betting: Odds, Picks & Predictions for Blazers vs. Lakers Game 2 (Aug. 20)
Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony.
- The Lakers are favored over the Blazers in Game 2 after dropping the first game thanks to a lifeless offensive performance.
- The line is nearly exactly the same as Game 1, and Brandon Anderson is looking to find a good live price on L.A.
- Get his full breakdown and pick for Blazers vs. Lakers Game 2 below.
Trail Blazers vs. Lakers Betting Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Lakers Odds||-6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+230/-275 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||229.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Well, that was certainly unexpected.
The Blazers mounted a late fourth quarter comeback to stun the 1-seed Lakers and take the 1-0 series lead. Nothing about this game went according to expectations.
LeBron James put up a monster line — but lost. Portland struggled to score and shot under 40% — but won. LeBron and Anthony Davis disappeared late. Damian Lillard came up huge down the stretch for the win.
Fine, maybe that last one is expected by now.
Suddenly, Los Angeles is facing what feels like a must-win Game 2. How will James and the Lakers respond to that adversity?
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers continue to hold this roster together with Scotch tape and bobby pins. Damian Lillard played over 39 minutes again — as he has in each of Portland’s 10 games in the bubble — while C.J. McCollum and his broken back went 41.5 minutes. Rookie Wenyen Gabriel started for the injured Zach Collins but played under 16 minutes. This is largely a six-man rotation right now.
Gabriel was very good, which is encouraging for Portland because Collins has been ruled out again in Game 2. Gabriel logged four points, three rebounds, and three assists while earning a 216 offensive rating and 94 defensive rating while on the court. However, he also had five fouls, which is somewhat disconcerting.
With Collins out and no help in sight off the bench, Portland needs Gabriel to cut down the fouls. The Blazers were forced to play Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic together for parts of Game 1, but that won’t work if the Lakers downsize and play Anthony Davis at center.
Portland can’t expect to hold LA to 93 points again, but the Blazers may not need to clamp down defensively in order to stay competitive. Portland scored 100 points despite receiving below average performances from many of its key contributors. Lillard had a rather muted 34 points, while McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, and Gary Trent combined to shoot 13-of-31 from the field.
Of course, the Lakers had a cold shooting night as well, going 5-of-32 from beyond the arc. That dismal 3-point shooting average likely won’t happen again either.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are the 1-seed, but they have yet to look the part in the Orlando bubble. LA has posted a 3-6 record in bubble play, while the Blazers improved to 8-2 with their win in Game 1.
It’s tough to critique LeBron’s line of 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, but he still looks a bit disengaged and needs to look for his shot more often. But perhaps more importantly, James needs far more from his teammates. Consider this: LeBron’s supporting cast made only 25 shots in Game 1. James assisted on 16 of those and scored the team’s remaining nine buckets himself.
Los Angeles has a trump card everyone’s been waiting on all season, and it might be time for LA to play it: The Lakers need to move Anthony Davis to center.
JaVale McGee has been terrible in the bubble and shouldn’t be getting minutes anyway. Moving Davis to center gets Kyle Kuzma onto the floor more often, and LA needs Kuzma’s scoring. More Kuzma also means less Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green, both of whom were awful in Game 1. Furthermore, it could result in less Nurkic and Whiteside from Portland as well.
Davis doesn’t want to play center, but it might be time to break glass in case of emergency.
Betting Analysis & Pick
There are legitimate reasons for the Lakers to be worried about their big-picture title hopes, but this series is by no means out of hand. Portland still has the worst defense in the playoffs, and the Lakers’ shooting should improve in Game 2.
If you really think Portland wins this game, the right play here is the series bet — not the game. Barring a herculean effort by James to carry the team on his own, I don’t see these Lakers taking four-of-five from the Blazers right now.
But that’s why this is a must-win game, and I’m not ready to write off LeBron in a must-win game just yet. We’ve seen this movie before: Some Lakers will finally hit a shot; and even if they don’t, LeBron will take matters into his own hands.
Still, the line here is a bit high for my comfort. Portland has played nine close games out of 10 in the bubble. I expect scoring to be a bit streaky, so there may be an opportunity to grab LA at improved odds in-game.
I’m looking to catch the Lakers at the tail end of a first-half Portland run. Imagine the Blazers ripping off a 10-2 run with a couple big 3s and an LA timeout, hopefully pushing the live line below -200 and closer to -150. Until Portland is up by double digits in the fourth quarter, I will continue to believe in LeBron to find a way to win.
I’m on the Lakers’ side, but I’m looking to bet it live. And I’m especially ready to hammer it when I see Davis move to center.
Pick: Lakers live at -150 or better (play up to -200).