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NBA Betting Picks

Welcome to the Tuesday, May 14 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for today’s Golden State-Portland playoff matchup I feel has profit potential at DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.

Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.

Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.

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Regular-season series results:

  • Nov. 23: Warriors 125, Blazers 97  (Oracle Arena)
  • Dec. 27: Blazers 110, Warriors 109 (OT) (Oracle Arena)
  • Dec. 29: Warriors 115, Blazers 105  (Moda Center)
  • Feb. 13: Blazers 129, Warriors 107 (Moda Center)

5/14/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Golden State Warriors (57-25 reg. season, 8-4 postseason) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (53-29 reg. season, 8-4 postseason)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -8 (o/u: 219.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -8 (o/u: 219)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -8 (o/u: 219.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -7.5 (o/u: 219)

The Breakdown

In the face of doubters, the Warriors rallied to win Game 6 at Houston and make a fifth straight Western Conference Finals appearance. They moved the ball, got the most out of every role player, and got clutch shooting from both Splash Brothers at important times.

Yet anyone asserting the Warriors are better without Kevin Durant is seriously caught up in the moment. Yes, Golden State is now 26-1 over its last 27 games when Steph Curry plays and KD sits, but that stat is misleading for a number of reasons. Plus, it contains only a tiny sample of playoff basketball.

Last Friday’s result was probably more about the crippling weight of expectations crushing the choking Rockets while the Warriors were able to play more freely as underdogs. Make no mistake: these are still not the same Warriors that won a title in 2015 and held a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Andre Iguodala played well in Game 6 but admitted to reporters afterward that he was quite fatigued. Plus, he’s been dealing with a sore knee at the end of his age-35 season. Shaun Livingston also provided key contributions in Game 6. And while Kevon Looney continued to thrive in his role, the Warriors have a critical lack of depth.

They were forced to give extended minutes to regressing Jordan Bell, ancient Andrew Bogut, and unproven NBA talents in Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie.

Klay Thompson and Curry combined to shoot 11-for-24 (.458) from three in Game 6. Iguodala was 5-for-8 from deep, and that’s a bit of a fluke considering he shot 27.7% from three on the road this year. Draymond Green is also 6-for-30 from downtown in these playoffs and can be virtually left alone on the perimeter.

Curry averaged 28.7 PPG with a 33.4% usage rate over four meetings with the Trail Blazers this season and has certainly proven capable of scoring against Damian Lillard. But can he stop the Blazers star, who is playing at an objectively superior level in these playoffs?

In sum, the Warriors are far more vulnerable than many might think. And they will remain vulnerable until Durant is able to return from his strained calf. That likely won’t happen until at least Game 4 of this series.

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For the young Blazers, the Warriors have represented a rite of passage. They were swept in the regular season and then swept handily in the first round of the playoffs by the Dubs during the 2016-17 season.

Then, the Blazers won two of three regular-season meetings against the Warriors during the 2018-19 season. This season, they played the Dubs evenly following a lopsided loss in November.

Portland went 21-20 on the road during the regular season, but the Blazers have grown up before our eyes and can’t be considered incapable of winning in tough environments after taking down the Nuggets in Game 7.

C.J. McCollum‘s performance on Sunday is undeniably the reason Portland is still standing. He absolutely shredded Denver’s capable perimeter defense and will look to take pressure off Damian Lillard by continuing his electric postseason run. However, Klay Thompson has done a great job on McCollum in the past and helped hold him to 18 PPG on 36.6% FG shooting this season.

Lillard struggled in his first two meetings with the Warriors this season but then dropped 69 points on 23-for-48 FG shooting (.479) over his last two meetings with the champs.

Like the Warriors, the Blazers lack reliable scoring options in the frontcourt. Maurice Harkless (ankle) is a bit banged up, and Al-Farouq Aminu is not a natural PF.

Aminu could struggle to match up with Draymond Green and force Blazers HC Terry Stotts to quickly turn to Zach Collins off the bench. Collins has been incredible in terms of his energy on both ends. Then, Stotts could also use Meyers Leonard to wear the Warriors down with depth.

Portland can match up with the Warriors’ small-ball lineups by using Evan TurnerSeth Curry and/or Rodney Hood, who nearly helped the Cavs avoid a sweep with a big performance in Game 3 of the Finals last year. Hood did tweak his knee in Game 7 on Sunday and is questionable for Tuesday night.

While Enes Kanter (shoulder) is not fully healthy, he’s still proven to be a load inside and could punish the Warriors on the boards the way the Rockets did last series.

Portland ranked third in offensive RPG (11.8) and first in total RPG (42.8) this season. Kanter added a key element with an 18.3% offensive rebounding rate after joining the Blazers. Golden State allowed a league-high 18.8 RPG to opposing centers over the final month of the season.

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The Final Word 

Despite losing Jusuf Nurkic (leg) for the season, the Blazers were one of the hottest teams in the league with a 19-6 record following the All-Star Break.

They won two of three against the Warriors last season, and their loss at Oracle (111-104) would have covered tonight’s lofty spread. We have no issues betting liberally on the Blazers (+8 on DraftKings Sportsbook) to maintain their hot run by at least covering the spread.

The atmosphere in Oracle is electric, but McCollum and Lillard both seem unflappable and frankly unguardable when they’re feeling their jumpers.

The Warriors are only 18-28-1 against the spread (ATS) at home this season, including the playoffs. The public is leaning towards the Blazers, while the sharps are all over this line with over 75% of money coming in on Portland (+8).

The Over (219 on FanDuel Sportsbook) is also seeing heavy action with over 90% of the money on that side of the line.

The Warriors sailed past the point total on Friday (213) since they played with more pace with Durant out. And the Blazers play with much more pace than the Rockets and clock-killing James Harden.

The PickBlazers (+8)