Two struggling and shorthanded Western Conference squads close out 2021 as the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Los Angeles Lakers. Upon reviewing the latest news, stats, and injury reports, the NBA betting lines have the Lakers favored. Which of these underachieving squads can get a big win to finish the year?
Reeling Blazers, Lakers Look to End Year Strong
Lakers Fans, It’s Not Westbrook’s Fault
When all else fails, blame Russell Westbrook. In fact, if we didn’t know any better, we’d put on our tinfoil hats and suggest that this is the reason LeBron James asked for Westbrook. If the Lakers fail, it will be because of the much-maligned superstar. Right?
“This is not a knock on Russell Westbrook. It is an acknowledgment of 13 years of data and the Lakers traded for him.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 30, 2021
The Lakers not only acquired Westbrook but shipped away most of its key players in the offseason. The result? They are first in the NBA in pace but only 12th in defensive rating and still a bottom-six offensive team.
James has been putting up triple-doubles all for naught. Los Angeles isn’t just two games below .500, but is also just 13-9 against teams below .500, including home losses to Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Tough to bet online on this team.
When Will Portland Blow It Up?
If the Lakers are slowly sinking, the Blazers are nearing the bottom of the ocean. Sure, Portland has been in this spot before: below .500 and needing a herculean effort from Damian Lillard to save them from the jaws of death so they can get bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
This may finally be the season that the NBA 75th Anniversary nominee won’t be able to save the team, especially with all of Portland’s injuries. CJ McCollum is still out indefinitely while the likes of Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic are in quarantine.
Portland still has an atrocious defense and its offense, which was once a top-five unit, has fallen to 14th. Calls for Lillard to be traded only get louder as the Blazers are prime “fade” material on the sportsbook.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers Head to Head
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers Game Information
- Date: Friday
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Crypto.com Arena
- Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers Live Stream: NBA Game Pass
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers Betting Lines
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers Prediction
Normally, we’d advocate fading Portland away from home. The Blazers are just 2-12 as a road team, with one win coming against the lowly Houston Rockets. But the Lakers are only 10-10 at home and 6-14 against the spread (ATS). That’s tough to trust, especially without Anthony Davis.
The Lakers are, at least, 3-1 in their last four home games against Portland. James is 13-7 against Lillard all-time and 8-4 as a Lakers, although Lillard has put up more points overall. The edge for Los Angeles will be its defense as it neutralizes Portland and covers the spread.
Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -5½
What a lofty total we have. The 227 points are the highest this evening thanks to the lack of defense from Portland’s end and the breakneck pace at which the Lakers play. But four of their last five games against each other have gone under, along with four of Portland’s last six.