Now that we’re in the thick of the NBA playoffs, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Featured Game | Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have been great as underdogs since the trade deadline, but they tend to lose focus in games that don’t quite qualify as must-win. In the first round against Memphis, they stole home-court advantage in Game 1… and then lost Game 2 with Ja Morant out. In the regular season, they sat Anthony Davis out of a game against the Houston Rockets that would have had important seeding ramifications… and lost. They needed overtime to beat the Utah Jazz in the last week of the season. They got the road win they needed on Tuesday. What are the odds that Anthony Davis plays 44 minutes ago in Game 2? Or that LeBron James plays 40? The Lakers would love to win Game 2, but they don’t need it. They got the split they were looking for. Now Golden State is the desperate team, and it’s a role they’ve thrived in during their dynasty. The Pick: Warriors -6
Kevon Looney has at least 13 rebounds in his past six playoff games. He’s averaging just over 16 of them per game. Now… why is his line so low for Game 2? Vegas seems to expect the Warriors to go small after the Lakers demolished them inside in Game 1. They probably will. But even if they do, there is no guarantee that Looney goes to the bench over Draymond Green, especially if the Warriors devote more on-ball possessions to Stephen Curry, which would render Green far less valuable offensively. And if Looney does go to the bench? He’s averaging one rebound every 112 seconds he plays this postseason. That means to reach eight rebounds, he’d only need to play 26 minutes to hit this total on his current average. That’s completely doable, especially if Looney’s minutes come against the small Laker bench lineups. The Pick: Looney Over 13.5 Rebounds
Our own Brad Botkin laid out the case for more Jordan Poole minutes, and it’s a wise one. The Lakers won Game 1 by ignoring Golden State’s non-shooters. By playing Poole, the Warriors could drag Davis out of the paint, force LeBron James to defend a real scorer instead of playing help exclusively and even force a poor defender in D’Angelo Russell to engage with one of their star guards. Yes, it would mean making Davis’ life even easier than it was in Game 1, but how much better can he really play? Is he going to finish with 40 points and 30 rebounds against one-big lineups? That seems unlikely considering how exhausted he was at the end of Game 1. Expect the Warriors to go small, and expect Poole to be active early in Game 2. The Pick: Poole Over 14.5 Points