Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers Free NBA Picks, Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 3/3/2014
Los Angeles Lakers (20-39) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (41-18)
NBA Basketball: Monday, March 3, 2014 at 10 p.m. EST (Moda Center)
The Los Angeles Lakers will look to make it two in a row this Monday night when they tangle with the Portland Trail Blazers, who just so happen to be riding a five-game winning streak into this Western Conference clash. The game will be available on NBA League Pass.
Straight up victories have been hard to come for the Lakers over the past two months, but this past Friday they squeezed past Sacramento 126-122 as two-point home favorites. It was just their second SU win in their past nine games. Los Angeles is 4-3 against the spread in its last seven outings, and the total has gone “over” in six of those games.
Portland extended its winning streak to five games with a 102-96 victory over Denver this past Saturday night, but it failed to cover as 12-point favorites at home. The Trail Blazers are 3-2 ATS during this current run, and the total has stayed “under” in all five games. They are now just three games out of the top spot in the West.
Lakers at Trail Blazers Betting Storylines
Los Angeles has struggled all season long without the services of Kobe Bryant, but a rash of recent injuries has devastated this lineup. Since New Year’s Day, it has managed to win just seven times in 27 games. The Lakers have only won consecutive games five times all season long, so the odds appear to be stacked against them to notch another SU win on Monday night. Covering the spread has been a somewhat different story with a 31-27-1 record ATS. They have gone 4-1 ATS in their last five road games as part of an overall record of 17-14 ATS on the road.
The Lakers have done a good job spreading the ball around to the players that have been on the court, with Paul Gasol and Nick Young leading the way. Gasol is averaging 17.1 points and 10 rebounds, and Young is chipping in another 16.8 points per game. Overall, Los Angeles is averaging 101.1 PPG and it is shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from 3-point range. Defensively, it is ranked 29th in the NBA in points allowed (106.5).
The Trail Blazers continue to remain right in the thick of the race for the top seed in the West after failing to even make the playoffs last season. Much of the credit for this dramatic turnaround has to go to a rejuvenated offense that currently leads the NBA in scoring with an average of 107.8 PPG. They have also been able to dominate the boards with a league-high 46.2 rebounds. The only real issue has been a defensive effort that has struggled at times to keep opponents from racking up the points as well. Portland is giving up an average of 102.9 PPG, which is ranked 25th.
At the forefront of this resurgence has been the elevated play of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Aldridge leads the Trail Blazers in points (23.8) and rebounds (11.3), and Lillard is scoring 21.2 points while dishing out a team-high 5.6 assists. They have had plenty of help from Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez. The most amazing thing about this starting five is that four of the players have not missed a game all season long.
Lakers at Trail Blazers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Lakers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games against a team with a SU winning record at home. They are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against the Northwest Division, and the total has gone over in 10 of their last 12 games on the road.
The Trail Blazers are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight home games, but they have covered in four of their last five games on one day of rest. The total has gone over in six of their last seven games against the Pacific Division.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Portland won the first game this season 114-108 as a 3.5-point road favorite. It is now 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings, and the total has gone over in seven of the last eight games.
Lakers at Trail Blazers Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
The Trail Blazers have had trouble covering at home lately, and Los Angeles has been a solid play on the road, especially against the better teams it has faced. If I had to pick a side I would take the Lakers and the 12 points; however the better play in this matchup is the over on the total line despite the fact it is set so high.
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