Thursday’s NBA picks, best bets: Look for Warriors role players to step up against the Lakers

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Now that we are in the thick of the NBA playoffs, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports provides daily picks throughout the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and then NBA final rounds. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors

A special game | Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have been great as underdogs since the trade deadline, but they tend to lose focus in games they don’t quite deserve to win. In the first round against Memphis, they stole home court advantage in Game 1 … and then lost Game 2 with Ja Morant out. In the regular season, they sat Anthony Davis out of a game against the Houston Rockets that would have had an important seeding win…and lost. They needed overtime to beat the Utah Jazz in the final week of the season. They got the road win they needed on Tuesday. What are the odds that Anthony Davis played 44 minutes back in Game 2? Or that LeBron James is playing 40? The Lakers would love to win Game 2, but they don’t need it. They got the separation they were looking for. Now Golden State is the desperate team, and it’s an area where they’ve thrived during their dynasty. The Pick: Heroes -6

Kevon Looney has at least 13 rebounds in his last six playoff games. He is averaging just over 16 of them per game. Now … why is his line so low for Game 2? Vegas seems to be expecting the Warriors to go small after the Lakers knocked them down in Game 1. Maybe they will. But even if they do, there’s no guarantee that Looney will go to the bench over Draymond Green, especially if the Warriors give Stephen Curry more ball possession, which would give Green far less offensive value. And if Looney goes to the bench? He is averaging one rebound every 112 seconds he plays this postseason. That means to reach eight rebounds, he would only need to play 26 minutes to beat this total on his current average. That’s entirely possible, especially if Looney’s shortstops come up against Laker’s small mountain lineups. The pick: Looney over 13.5 rebounds

Our very own Brad Botkin settled the case for more Jordan Poole minutes, and it’s smart. The Lakers won Game 1 by avoiding Golden State’s shooters. By playing Poole, the Warriors could pull Davis out of the paint, force LeBron James to guard a true scorer instead of only playing help and even make him a poor defender in D’Angelo Russell to get involved with one of their star guards. Yes, it would mean making Davis’ life even easier than it was in Game 1, but how much better can he play? Is he going to finish with 40 points and 30 rebounds against big leagues? That seems unlikely considering how tired he was at the end of Game 1. Expect the Warriors to go small, and expect Poole to be active early in Game 2. The pick: Poole over 14.5 points

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