Against the Spread Pick
The Los Angeles Lakers will be playing their first game since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Obviously the Hollywood script calls for a huge performance by LeBron James and a commanding win for the Lakers. In reality, of course, it is impossible to say how this team is going to respond. Los Angeles has not played since last Saturday after Tuesday’s meeting with the Clippers was cancelled. The Lakers are just 3-3 in their past six contests. The Trail Blazers have won three of their past four overall, including two in a row at the expense of tough opposition in Indiana and Houston. Damian Lillard is completely on fire to the tune of at least 34 points in six straight outings. Los Angeles is 1-4 ATS in its last four overall. One can only assume that the Lakers will win, but 13 points should be enough for PORTLAND.
Over Under Pick
Lillard has been absolutely lighting opponents up of late. He has led Portland in scoring on 10 consecutive occasions, delivering 61, 47, 50, and 36 points across the past four contests. His team has scored at least 125 points in each of the past four games. The over is 5-1 in the Trail Blazers’ last six overall and 6-0 in their last six against opponents with winning records. It is also 7-2 in the Lakers’ last nine overall and 13-4 in their last 17 against opponents with losing records. Look for this one to go OVER the total.