Lakers vs. Blazers Game 1 Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Tuesday, August 18)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James
- The Lakers are favored over the Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round series on Tuesday night.
- Portland was the last team in the postseason thanks to Damian Lillard's heroics. The Blazers went 6-2 in the bubble and outlasted the Grizzlies a play-in game on Sunday.
- See how Brandon Anderson is betting Tuesday's Game 1 below.
Trail Blazers vs. Lakers Betting Odds
|Blazers Odds||+5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Lakers Odds||-5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-240/+210 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||230 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9:00 p.m. ET|
The Portland Trail Blazers were the last team to get into the playoffs after eking their way in over the weekend. Portland went 6-2 in the reseeding games with an overtime win plus wins by three, three and one point in their final three games, respectively. That put them in the 8-seed heading into the play-in, and the Blazers pulled away late against the Memphis Grizzlies to earn their spot in the dance.
Damian Lillard has been molten lava for two weeks en route to winning Bubble MVP, and he deserved every bit of it. The Lakers didn’t particularly try in the seeding games — they went just 3-5 and looked disinterested at times — but it’s hard to blame them with so little to play for. These teams are headed in opposite directions, and Portland will not be a pushover. The Lakers will have to do more than just show up.
Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard is really good. Maybe you’ve heard.
Lillard averaged 37.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.6 assists in the seeding games, then had a “quiet” 31 and 10 in the play-in win. Lillard is averaging 5.5 made threes and 10 free-throw attempts per game, scoring at every level. He is a capital-P Problem.
Lillard is getting plenty of help from Jusuf Nurkic, who returned after over a year away and immediately stepped back into his role as Portland’s second-best player. Nurkic boosts the team on both ends of the court, but especially on offense with his screening and passing. Around those two, Portland is loading up on shooters with C.J. McCollum, Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent sizzling from behind the arc.
Portland is cooking on offense. It’s averaging 126 points in the Orlando bubble and finished the season with the league’s No. 3 rated offense. The problem is the Blazers are also allowing over 123 PPG in that span. They were the second-worst defense in the bubble and can’t stop anyone right now. Part of the problem is that Dame and C.J. are playing insane minutes and have nothing left in the tank. The other problem is these guys just aren’t good defenders. The Blazers know they’re just going to have to outgun any opponent.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have been mediocre since resuming play. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee have played poorly at center, and LeBron James has looked somewhere between disinterested and not fully fit. Los Angeles is missing Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo, and that has them giving real, live minutes to Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith in the Year of our Lord, 2020.
Who is this team’s third-best player? The answer right now may be Kyle Kuzma, the way he’s shooting. He was perhaps the only Lakers’ bright spot in the bubble.
The Lakers offense sputtered down the stretch, and they struggle to score in the half court. Somehow, a team with LeBron and Anthony Davis finished the season outside the top 10 in scoring. The defense still finished No. 3 but has faded after the All-Star Break too.
But at the end of the day, this team still has LeBron and Brow, and no matter how hot Damian Lillard is, that still gives the Lakers the best two players on the court. Are there serious warning signs for these Lakers, or have they just been waiting for the games to matter?
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’m not entirely sure the answer to that question — but we may not get our answer against the Blazers either. The truth is that Portland really does not match up well with Los Angeles. Nurkic has consistently struggled against Anthony Davis, and Davis is the perfect defender to switch onto Lillard in the pick-and-roll. And who exactly is defending LeBron? Melo? Please.
The Lakers may be having some trouble scoring, but do you know the perfect medicine for that? Playing this Blazers defense, that’s what. LeBron and Davis should be able to score anytime they feel like it. The Lakers will miss Avery Bradley’s defense on Dame, and Lillard may win a game on his own this series, but the Blazers are far outmatched.
I came into this game thinking I’d play the Blazers. They’re hot right now, the Lakers haven’t played a meaningful game in half a year, and the Blazers are as rested as they’ll get. If they want to have any chance in this series, they have to steal Game 1.
And then I saw the line. Are you kidding me with this -5.5 on a neutral court in a first-round game with Playoff LeBron? Sorry, but that’s just silly. This line should be at least 8 points, and that’s how high I’d play it. I expect the line to rise by tip, so get your bet in early.
LeBron won 21 straight first-round games at one point, including four consecutive sweeps. The man is different when the lights come on. And I think we’re all about to get a nice reminder of that.
The PICK: Lakers -5.5 [Bet $20+ on the Lakers at PointsBet and Win $125 if they make at least one dunk]