Free NBA Picks Tuesday 8/18/2020 and Opening Line Report
The NBA Playoffs are here, and there’s one exciting match-up in the West that everyone is talking about. Damian Lillard versus LeBron James. The eight-seeded Trail Blazers against the one-seeded Lakers. The hype is real with Damian Lillard. However, can the Blazers defend well enough to actually win a game over the Lakers? Here are the leans for that primetime game and the other three games for Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs slate.
Magic vs Bucks 8/18/20 (-12, 225)
The Bucks were the clear favorite in the East coming into the bubble. But after a poor showing in the regular season, there is some concern moving forward for the Bucks. The Bucks lost three of their last four games and essentially took these the day off. They also had a loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the bubble when the Nets played a bunch of G-League players. Meanwhile, they’ll take on the struggling Magic in the first round of the playoffs. The Magic have lost four of their last five and won’t be able to hang with the Bucks. It’s playoff time. The Bucks will be prepared.
Key trends: Bucks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Conference Quarterfinals games.
Early lean: Bucks, Under
Heat vs Pacers 8/18/20 (+4, 216)
The Heat and Pacers have played two games against one another in their final three games of the regular season in the bubble. The results were interesting. The Pacers dominated in the first bout, but the Heat dominated in the second bout. Of course, star players were absent and didn’t play in these games on both sides. But the reality is, both teams played defense and got stops. Games are won with depth. Both teams have it. I expect a low scoring game in this one. If the Pacers are at full health (minus Sabonis), I believe the Pacers will come out on top. This should be one of the better first-round series in the NBA.
Key trends: Under is 20-8 in Pacers last 28 Conference Quarterfinals games.
Early lean: Pacers, Under
Thunder vs Rockets 8/18/20 (+1.5, 225.5)
Russell Westbrook has been ruled out for the first game of the playoffs. The Rockets will miss their superstar, but they also have another superstar in James Harden, who has looked really good with or without Westbrook. Harden hasn’t been getting support from his teammates with three straight losses to the Spurs, Pacers and 76ers. On the other hand, the Thunder have plenty of potential with their young guys performing at a high level right now. Chris Paul has led extremely well all season. The Thunder will be without Dennis Schroder, but I’m not sure that will be an issue. The Rockets will go down early in this series.
Key trends: Rockets are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss.
Early lean: Thunder, Over
Trail Blazers vs Lakers 8/18/20 (-5.5, 229.5)
This is the series we’ve all been waiting for. The Blazers did all they could to make the playoffs, and now here they are. Many believe Lillard can upset the Lakers and send LeBron James and Anthony Davis home. Not so fast. The Blazers have been amazing offensively behind Lillard and McCollum. However, defensively, they haven’t been nearly as good. The Blazers were shooting lights out and still playing closely-contested games in all of their last four. The Lakers will defend, and they have many weapons to score. The hype is real for Lillard, but the disrespect for LeBron is on another level.
Key trends: Trail Blazers are 10-26-2 ATS in their last 38 Conference Quarterfinals games.
Early lean: Lakers, Under
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