The Los Angeles Lakers are in complete disarray with a 5-10 record in their last 15 — including a 15-point loss at home last night to the reigning champions. Much scrutiny has unsurprisingly been laid on Russell Westbrook, who has been taken out of closing lineups as of late.
The Portland Trail Blazers have gutted their roster ahead of tomorrow's trade deadline, sending the likes of CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Robert Covington, and others to new homes. While both teams are not exactly where they would like to have been prior to the season, both are in a position to (at the very least) make the play-in tournament and a win today would certainly help.
Continue reading for more free NBA betting picks and predictions for Lakers vs. Trail Blazers on Wednesday, February 9th.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Lakers opened at -7.5 and have since moved to -9 at the time of this writing. The total opened at 225 and has since moved down to 223.5.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers predictions
Predictions made on 2/9/2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Lakers vs Trail Blazers game info
• Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR
• Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022
• Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ROOT-SP, SPECSN
Lakers vs Trail Blazers betting preview
Lakers: Carmelo Anthony F (Out), Dwight Howard C (Questionable), Kendrick Nunn G (Out).
Trail Blazers: Eric Bledsoe G (Questionable), Keon Johnson G (Out), Nassir Little F (Out), Damian Lillard G (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Portland is 4-8 against the spread as home underdogs this season. Only four other teams (Spurs, Rockets, Magic, Nets) have worse cover percentages in that situation. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Trail Blazers.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Los Angeles Lakers are, quite simply, just not a true championship contender. If you don't agree and have remaining optimism for this Lakers team, take Lebron James' own words in last night's post-game press conference following a 15 point home loss to the Bucks: "We ain't on their level... Do I think we can reach the level where Milwaukee is right now? Um, no". Below is a full transcript of the exchange.
Here's the transcript of my press conference exchange with LeBron James to close out the evening. It's hard not to read into this: pic.twitter.com/hcdnJqrXlB— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 9, 2022
And frankly, he's right. And despite it being his age-37 season, the Lakers' struggles on the court are far from his fault. He's averaging 29 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game, with his scoring average being his highest since his 2009-10 season. His shooting splits are also otherworldly given his age: his effective field goal percentage (59.0%) and two-point field goal percentage (62.7%) are the highest they've been during his tenure with the Lakers. And his 35.2% proficiency from deep isn't shabby, either, clocking in as the second-highest during that time. Even his free throw percentage — which he's rightfully been panned for during his career — is the highest it's been in nearly a decade (75.2%).
Anthony Davis (23.7 ppg) has been largely the player he's advertised to be, but his fragility and resulting unwillingness to play to his size leaves a lot of meat on the bone. Sure, he'll take the easy buckets inside the restricted area (75.8% field goal percentage), but if you extend those paint shots just a shade outside of that, he's visibly lacking in strength and finesse (32.4%). On top of that, his 3-point shooting has severely declined (17.5% this year), which further pigeonholes his utility. When you compare this to his big man contemporaries, it's no wonder Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo have managed to win the last three MVP awards and why Joel Embiid is the frontrunner to win it this year.
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And of course, there is the entire Russell Westbrook saga, which continued last night. After another game of being excluded from the closing lineup and being seen trying to cheer up Lebron and Davis after the game, he was asked what he said to the two co-stars. "I told them I wished I could help them. But I wasn't in the game to help them out, but that's not my call," Westbrook said. In a follow up when asked if he knows the benchmarks he needs to reach to make the closing lineup Westbrook responded, "I shouldn’t have to hit any benchmarks, to be honest. I put a lot of work in. I got a lot of respect in this game. ... I earned the right to be in closing lineups."
Despite Davis' lack of versatility and the entire circus that has become the Westbrook-Lakers experience, Wednesday night's matchup arguably pits them against an even more dysfunctional organization and roster. The Portland Trail Blazers — after years of failing to make the Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum backcourt work — have sent almost every notable player on the roster out ahead of tomorrow's trade deadline. Other than Dame, who's injured, Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic are the most notable names who remain. The players Portland received yesterday in return for Norman Powell and Robert Covington are officially listed as day-to-day but are realistically unlikely to play.
That provides the Lakers ample opportunity to right the ship and pick up an easy win. Portland won the first of their three previous matchups, but Lebron was absent for that contest and the Blazers have just 35 of the 105 points they scored from that night suiting up for this game. The Lakers won 139-106 and 99-94 (without Lebron again) in the other two. Given Portland's short-handedness for tonight's contest, the Lakers should roll.
Prediction: Lakers -9 (-110)
Referencing full-season numbers for the Trail Blazers in an effort to analyze the total would be a fool's errand considering the roster turnover they've experienced. What we do know is that since the initial trade of Powell and Covington last Friday, Portland has played three shorthanded games. They averaged just 98.7 points and played the first two with McCollum (who chipped in an average of 18 points).
The Lakers also have a tough roster to analyze given the extensive and on-and-off absences from Lebron and Davis. The two have played together in just 18 of the team's 55 games this season, but their defensive results of late have been somewhat promising. If we ignore last night's 131 allowed to the Bucks, the Lakers have allowed just 107.9 points per game in the last ten the two have played together. That would rank 13th in the league compared to the Lakers' seasonal average of 112.6, which ranks 27th.
Prediction: Under 223.5 (-110)
There are clear reasons and times to be skeptical of this Lakers team, but tonight is not one of them. The Lakers' recent struggles have been highly publicized, and it's likely because of that documentation that they still have managed to cover four straight times as single-digit favorites. Conversely, the Blazers have failed to cover as single-digit underdogs in five straight and are 4-8 as a home underdog on the season.
And between the trade deadline causing short-term roster shortages and upheavals and teams in playoff contention trying to finish strong heading into the All-Star break, we've seen favorites go 27-2 ATS since Saturday. The Lakers fit that bill.
Pick: Lakers -9 (-110)
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