Portland Trailblazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview and Pick

Portland Trailblazers (29-27) +15, 202 at Los Angeles Lakers (39-17), 10:30 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Los Angeles Lakers, winners of eight games in a row and owners of the best record in the Western Conference, take on the Portland Trailblazers, losers of seven of their last eight, in a battle of former division rivals Tuesday night at Staples Center in LA.

Sportsbooks list Los Angeles as a 15-point home favorite for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 202. Not many outlets are offering moneylines on this game, but the ones that are have the Lakers posted at upwards of -2000, with Portland getting around +1500.

The lines are considerably skewed because of the news that Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who aggravated an ankle injury Sunday, is out of action for the foreseeable future.

Portland started out 5-12 this season, but played itself into relevance with a 17-1 run. But since then, the Blazers have gone 7-14. In its latest outing, Portland grabbed a 32-16 lead after the first quarter Sunday vs. Boston, but allowed the Celtics to shoot 58% for the game and eventually lost 112-102. So heading into Tuesday’s game, the Blazers sat in third place in the Northwest Division, seven games back of the first-place Utah Jazz, and occupied 10th place in the West, 4 games behind the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors.

Meanwhile, the Lakers have made a charge to the top of both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. LA pounded Seattle Sunday 111-91, and now leads Phoenix by a game in the Pacific and San Antonio by a half-game in the West.

This is the first meeting this season between these two teams. Last season, Portland took two of three games from the Lakers, and covered the spread in all three. Also, the o/u went 2-1 in those three games, which averaged excluding an overtime period they played 202 total points. Which happens to be exactly Tuesday’s total.

The Blazers are 27-29 against the spread this season, but just 8-19 straight up and 12-15 vs. the numbers on the road.

On the other side of the ledger, LA is a league-best 36-19 ATS this season, 18-7 SU and 15-9 vs. the numbers at home.

The 15-point spread on this game is the most the Lakers have been favored by this season, and the most Portland has been dogged. LA is 4-2 against the spread as double-digit chalk this season, while the Blazers are 5-2 ATS as double-digit dogs.

Also, the Lakers are 9-1 both straight up and against the spread since picking up center Pau Gasol in a trade with Memphis.

Statistically speaking, LA ranks 3rd in the league in point differential at +7.2 per game and 14th in rebounding at +.9 per game. The Lakers are also shooting 48% from the field as a team, 37% from 3-point range and 76% from the free-throw line.

Portland, despite a winning record, ranks 16th in the league in point differential at -.7 per game and 24th in rebounding at -2.3 per game. Also, the Blazers are shooting 45% from the floor, 38% from long range and 76% from the line.

And both teams are tied for 4th in the league in FG defense at 44%.

Also on the injury front, LA forward Vlad Radmanovic, who missed Sunday’s game, is listed as questionable for Tuesday with a sore calf. And the Lakers continue to play without center Andrew Bynum, who’s missed the last 20 games with a sprained knee. But LA has managed to go 14-6 without him.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks the Lakers 3rd at 97.4, Portland 16th at 89.1. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.2.

The o/u is 22-33 in Blazers games, which are averaging 191 total points, while the totals are 26-29 in LA games, which are averaging 209 points.

Zman’s Pick: Take the Blazers at +15.