The NBA playoffs continue with Game 1 for four different series, including the top seeds in both conferences. The top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers are six-point favorites over the Portland Trail Blazers in Western Conference playoffs betting action. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder are slight favorites over the Houston Rockets due to an injury to Russell Westbrook.

NBA playoffs betting preview Lakers Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and LeBron James of the LA Lakers at Staples Center in 2019. (Image: Porter Lambert/Getty)

The Greek Freak and the #1 seed Milwaukee Bucks square up against the Orlando Magic in Eastern Conference playoff action. The Bucks come into Game 1 as a hefty 13-point favorite against the #8 seed.

The other series in the east includes the #5 Miami Heat as a favorite over the #4 Indiana Pacers. The Heat are -335 favorites to win the series over the Pacers according to series odds released by DraftKings.

8/18/20 NBA PLAYOFFS BETTING LINES
Milwaukee -13 vs Orlando (225 o/u)
Miami -4.5 vs Indiana (215 o/u)
Oklahoma City -1.5 vs Houston (224.5 o/u)
LA Lakers -6 vs Portland (230.5 o/u)

In the opening day of the postseason, four favorites won outright – Denver, Toronto, Boston, and the LA Clippers. Will chalk prevail again on Day 2? Or are there any live dogs out there?

#1E Milwaukee Bucks (56-17) vs #8E Orlando Magic (33-40)

The Orlando Magic stumble into the postseason after a 3-5 record during the restart. They took a bad beat when they lost their top defender. Jonathan Isaac blew out his ACL two weeks ago. The Magic rely on big man Nikola Vucevic (19.6 ppg, 10.9 rebounds) to provide all of their offense, but he’ll also be tasked with trying to find a way to contain the Greek Freak (29.5 ppg, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists).

The Bucks are on a specific mission: win the NBA championship. The high-scoring Bucks (118.7 ppg) are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They’d like to begin their postseason journey on the right foot with a big win against the Magic, but the Bucks looked rusty in the restart with a 3-5 record.

#4E Indiana Pacers (45-28) vs #5E Miami Heat (44-29)

Get ready for some serious trash talking between TJ Warren and Jimmy Butler in this series. Butler takes a young Miami Heat squad to battle against the dinged-up Pacers.

Warren lit up the restart and earned a spot on the NBA Bubble All-Star team with Damian Lillard and Devin Booker. If anyone was doing secret workouts during lockdown and quarantine, look no further than Warren. The Pacers don’t have to worry about Warren, but how will Victor Oladipo hold up? The Pacers will definitely miss Domantas Sabonis (plantar fasciitis).

The Heat went 3-5 in the restart due to a foot injury to Butler and Bam Adebayo’s sore knee. Both are expected to be ready for Game 1. The Heat and Pacers faced each other twice during the restart, and split both games.

#5W Oklahoma City (44-28) vs #4W Houston (44-28)

The Houston Rockets commence their postseason without one of their big guns. Russell Westbrook has a quad injury that will keep him out of the lineup for Game 1. It will now be the James Harden Show. Even if he drops 60-plus points, will it be enough to win?

The Rockets traded away big man Clint Capela during the season. Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun small-ball offense looks tough to beat in the regular season, but how will they respond during the grueling grind of the NBA playoffs?

The Oklahoma City Thunder were the biggest surprise of the season. After they traded away two All-Stars (Westbrook and Paul George), the team was in rebuilding mode. Or so we thought. Billy Donovan opted for a three-guard lineup with Chris Paul (18 ppg), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19 ppg), and Dennis Schroder (19 ppg off the bench).

So long as Paul stays healthy, the Thunder will be a tough opponent. Plus, CP3 has a chip on his shoulder after Houston shipped him to OKC after a blow-up with Harden in the 2019 postseason.

Oddsmakers pegged this matchup as the closest series in the postseason. DraftKings lists the Rockets as -148 favorites to win the series, while the Thunder are only a slight underdog at +120 odds to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

#1W LA Lakers (52-19) vs #8W Portland Trail Blazers (35-39)

The Lakers have one of the best 1-2 punches in the league with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They’ll need someone else to step up and provide reliable scoring and defense, however. Kyle Kuzma looked stellar in the restart for a Lakers team that played like crap.

“In order for us to win a championship, Kuz has to be our third-best player,” said LeBron. “We can’t win a championship if Kuz doesn’t play well.”

The Lakers added LeBron’s buddy and former teammate JR Smith during the shutdown. Smith provided both deadly perimeter shooting and boneheaded mistakes during his tenure with the Cleveland Cavs.

The Lakers will have problems with the Blazers unless they can find someone to contain Damian Lillard.

Pound-for-pound, Lillard is the best player in the NBA. When Dame goes off, it’s impossible to stop him. And, if he’s having a rough night, you still have to stop CJ McCollum.

Before the pandemic, Carmelo Anthony provided a much-needed stop-gap during the regular season when the Blazers were depleted at the power forward position. Melo meshed well with his new teammates and didn’t squander what might have been his last chance at playing in the NBA. Now, he’ll be one of the key factors in the NBA playoffs if the Blazers pull off a sick upset over the top-seeded Lakers.

The Lakers opened as a favorite over the Blazers in Game 1, but the line has moved to -6. The Blazers have been a popular pick among wiseguys and Lakers haters. DraftKings lists the Blazers as +365 underdogs to win the first-round series. The Lakers slipped to -500 favorites to knock out the Blazers and advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

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