Game time is 9 pm EDT Thursday
Trail Blazers (+7.5) @ Warriors (218)
Pick: Trail Blazers +7.5
Confirmation biases are trouble in sports betting. It’s always best to analyze the full game and see if the final result was a little phony, providing value against that result the next time out. In the case of Tuesday’s opening game in the Western Conference Finals, that was likely true. Portland never really looked like it was going to win the game on Tuesday, but it certainly didn’t look like a team that was going to lose by 22. The Trail Blazers hung around and were down single digits after each quarter. They entered the fourth quarter trailing by six, inside the 7.5-point spread they were catching. The Warriors then outscored them by 39-23 in the final period to win, 116-94.
I don’t love looking at regular season results when handicapping the playoffs, but these two teams did split the season series. The Warriors and Trail Blazers are not on two different planets. Damian Lillard was also largely held in check on Tuesday only shooting 4-12 from the field. We talked a lot about the zig-zag theory in the second round and it was usually a good idea to bet against a previous game result in the following contest during the conference semifinals. Look for Portland to finish better than it did on Tuesday and have a good chance to level the series here which means you should take the 7.5 points.