The Portland Trail Blazers are in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers! It’s time to continue our NBA odds series with a Blazers-Lakers prediction and pick.

The Blazers started out the season playing very well but have lost six of their last seven games mostly because of the absence of Damien Lillard. According to Chris Haynes, Lillard is targeting Sunday, Dec 4 for a return against the Indiana Pacers. Portland is still (11-10) on the year which is good for 2nd in the Northwest division and 7th in the conference.

The Lakers are trying to figure it out. They are (7-12) on the season which has them 13th in the West and last in the division. LA is coming off of a heart-breaker against the Pacers where they gave up a buzzer-beater to rookie Andrew Nembhard. The Lakers are doing whatever they can to figure it out but they must turn things around now or else it could already be too late. Both Lebron James and Anthony Davis are probable heading into tonight’s game.

Here are the Blazers-Lakers NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel

NBA Odds: Blazers-Lakers Odds

Portland Trail Blazers: +5.5 (-108)

Los Angeles Lakers: -5.5 (-112)

Over: 224.5 (-110)

Under: 224.5 (-110)

Why The Trail Blazers Could Cover The Spread

The Blazers will have a better shot of covering if the Lakers end up without James or AD. I have a feeling both will suit up, so the Blazers will need to figure out how to contain them. James and AD combined for 46 points in the loss to the Pacers while they played with the lead for the majority of the game. Even though LA isn’t winning, those two are still dominating the court.

A major reason why they are still dominating is because of their defense. LA is 7th in defensive rating so the Blazers are going to need to show up offensively tonight if they want to cover this spread. Portland is 21st in defensive rating and if they aren’t careful both Lebron and AD can have a huge night without Lillard there to respond.

Anfernee Simons has been the guy all season and especially since Lillard has been out. He’s averaging 23.9 points per game with 3.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He’s 15th in the NBA in scoring and he’s proving he belongs in this league. If Simons can put up another huge night and others step up also like Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic, then the Blazers will be in this game until the end.

Why The Lakers Could Cover The Spread

LA should be able to cover this spread as they won’t be facing Lillard. The Blazers have done a good job of competing without him but their losing streak shows how valuable he really is. With that said, if the Lakers show up defensively then they should cruise away with a win and cover. Portland defeated the Lakers by two points the first time they met after Lillard dropped 41. Now that the 40-point scorer is gone then the Lakers have just Simons, Nurkic, and Grant to worry about.

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The offense late in the game is the major problem. LA allowed a ton of points to the Pacers late in the 4th quarter but sometimes there is nothing you can do about an opponent hitting a shot. What they can control is the offense and if the Lakers can find a way to hit consistent shots late in the game then they won’t have a hard time finishing off games.

It’s been all AD and Lebron all season but Lonnie Walker IV and Russell Westbrook are figuring out their roles. It’s still odd seeing Russ come off the bench but he’s playing well in the role and is fresh off of a 24-point game shooting 55%. That is all you can ask for out of Russ and sooner or later the Lakers trio will start winning them games. It starts with a crucial win to end the month of November and continues into December with momentum.

Final Blazers-Lakers Prediction & Pick

Portland has had a tough time winning games lately but has faced some really good teams. With both teams struggling, I expect it to be close. Take the Blazers to cover this 5.5-point spread

Final Blazers-Lakers Prediction & Pick: Blazers +5.5 (-108)