February 20, 2012

Basketball Odds: Portland Trail Blazers @ Los Angeles Lakers Pick

Wrap up your President’s Day triple header of NBA betting action on Monday night when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Portland Trail Blazers.

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There is a point that the Blazers are going to have to make the call whether they are contenders or not in the Western Conference. They clearly have some solid pieces to the puzzle in place, but they might be better served trying to stockpile some more young chips and draft picks to try to make a push next year or in the immediate years to come. LaMarcus Aldridge is back in the lineup, which really might help, and in the romp of the Atlanta Hawks over the weekend, he put up 19 points. Raymond Felton and Nicolas Batum both had great games, while Gerald Wallace showed his inconsistency again with just nine points on 2-of-7 shooting. Wallace, Marcus Camby, Felton, and Jamal Crawford all have expiring contracts (or contracts with player options) at the end of the year, making them all potential trading pieces, and games like this one are going to go a long way in determining whether this team elects to buy or sell at the deadline. Either way, the pieces are here to do just that.

BetOnline.comThe Lakers are certainly not going to be sellers at the deadline, but they are certainly buzzing about making a move. Pau Gasol and his $19M salary still has three years left, but he is starting to play some decent basketball. He has been rumored to be traded, and Kobe Bryant is insisting that it could be hurting the team and that the time is there for the team to trade him or commit to him long term. Speaking of which, Andrew Bynum is on the trade block as well, though it does seem puzzling why the Lakers have been so eager to try to trade a 24-year old averaging 16.3 points and 12.5 boards per game. There is a lot of money tied up in these two though, and the same could be said about Kobe Bryant. Bryant is coming off of a 32 point outburst against the Phoenix Suns, but it came in a losing effort on Sunday night in the desert. At just 18-13, the truth of the matter is that LA is quite a ways away from being a sure thing for the playoffs this year in the West, where seemingly all of the best teams in the league outside of Chicago and Miami reside.

The Final Word: Portland is good enough to win this game. The underdog is 22-9 ATS in the last 31 in this series, and the Blazers are 27-10 ATS in the last 37. They already have won romp over the Lakers this year at the Rose Garden, taking a 107-96 decision in the beginning of January, and we’ll back them again for the potential upset at the Staples Center on Monday night.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Los Angeles Lakers Pick: Portland +4

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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