NBA weekend betting preview: Buy Blazers vs. banged-up Lakers

Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pelicans @ 76ers (-9, 227.5)
May 7, 7 p.m. ET

For over a week now, we've been singing the praises of the finally healthy 76ers, who have covered five of their last six games and are 18-11 ATS / 25-4 straight up when their starting five is active. Fourteen of those 25 wins came by double digits, while the team is 9-2 ATS this year when favored by at least nine points, healthy or not.

The Pelicans, on the other hand, aren't healthy. Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker are all expected to miss Friday's contest, while Steven Adams is doubtful. That's a lot of firepower to be without on the road against an elite Philadelphia defense. Lay the points with confidence.

Pick: 76ers -9

Lakers @ Trail Blazers (-8.5, 221)
May 7, 10 p.m.

The Lakers can't catch a break. Days after LeBron James' return from injury was marred by a subsequent ankle injury, Anthony Davis left Thursday's blowout loss to the Clippers with back spasms, though he appeared to tweak his ankle, as well.

Davis is expected to suit up for Friday's tilt, but for how long? He'll need to produce to help his side take down the Trail Blazers, who have won five of their last six games by an average of 16.3 points. Los Angeles was a below .500 team without its two stars; expect a similar showing Friday, even if an injured Davis exceeds his minutes expectation.

Pick: Trail Blazers -8.5

Wizards @ Pacers (N/A)
May 8, 7 p.m.

Stop me if you've heard this before: the Wizards keep winning, and oddsmakers keep sleeping at the wheel. The latest victory came Thursday when they erased a 13-point deficit to beat the Raptors outright as one-point road underdogs.

That win extended Washington's streak to 13-0-2 ATS since April 12, during which the team owns the NBA's second-best net rating (plus-9.2). The Pacers have been barely average over that stretch and have battled injuries to key players ahead of this clash. Don't bet on a surprise outcome here.

Pick: Wizards (TBD)

Thunder @ Kings (N/A)
May 9, 10 p.m.

This, like all Sunday games, is a speculative play without knowing where this line will settle. Assuming the Kings are modest favorites, as I expect they will be, I'm fading them hard in this spot.

Sacramento is 5-13 ATS this year as a favorite - easily the worst mark in the NBA - after Tuesday's narrow four-point win over the Thunder as a 4.5-point favorite. That marked the team's seventh consecutive loss in a chalk spot, while OKC moved to 13-6 ATS when catching five or fewer points.

The Kings simply aren't a reliable blowout candidate with De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton shelved, even if they're going against one of the NBA's worst teams. Expect a close game in this one.

Pick: Thunder (TBD)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

NBA weekend betting preview: Buy Blazers vs. banged-up Lakers
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