Los Angeles Lakers (0-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 18, 2018, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Portland Trail Blazers -1.5 -- Over/Under: 220
The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers meet Thursday in NBA action at the Moda Center.
The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t made the playoffs since the season Mike Brown was fired, but expectations have changed rather quickly with the addition of LeBron James. The best player in the world has made the Lakers instant playoff contenders for many, and they’ve become a trendy pick to win the title in terms of future bets. While everyone is focused on LeBron and the progress of young players such as Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, the revamped bench will determine how seriously we can take the Lakers. What versions of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley are we going to get? All four of those vets have shown flashes throughout their career but can also be headaches. If everybody is on the same page this season, the Lakers could make some noise and be a team that shakes things up a bit. The Los Angeles Lakers have lost three of their last four regular season openers.
The Portland Trail Blazers won 49 games last season but a first round playoff exit felt like the season was a failure. The Trail Blazers season can go one or two ways; either everybody rallies together and Portland earns respect in the loaded West with a deep run, or things continue to tread downward and we start hearing Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in trade rumors. Obviously, a healthy Jusuf Nurkic at the center position will help the Trail Blazers in a big way, as they were at their best when he was on the court consistently. For this game, there’s sure to be a lot of emotion in the building for the Trail Blazers given the death of their owner Paul Allen. I’m sure the Trail Blazers will play hard in hopes of bringing a victory in his honor. The Portland Trail Blazers have won each of their last four regular season openers.
The Lakers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games, 17-8 ATS in their last 25 games following a ATS win and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win. The Trail Blazers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games, 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 home games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Lakers are 9-22 ATS in the last 31 meetings in Portland, 17-44 ATS in the last 61 meetings and the road team is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings. The over is 10-3-2 in Lakers last 15 road games and the under is 4-1 in Trail Blazers last 5 home games.
Turning down LeBron as an underdog just seems foolish, as the value is tough to pass up given the impact he has on the game. However, I'm not high on these Lakers due to the lack of shooting and actually have them not making the playoffs this season. LeBron is at his best when he's surrounded by shooters and the Lakers don't have much. The Portland Trail Blazers are usually really good at home and should enter this season with a chip on their shoulder with the way last season ended. There's also the emotional part with the recent passing of owner Paul Allen. I'll lay the bucket with the Portland Trail Blazers.