Why the Lakers will keep it close in Game 1 vs. Warriors, plus other Tuesday best bets

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By Webdesk

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ PM Newsletter, the ultimate daily guide to sports betting. You can sign up here every weekday afternoon to get it delivered to your inbox.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Lakers at Warriors, 10 p.m. | Television: TNT

  • The pick: Lakers +4.5 (-110)
  • Main trends: The Lakers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.

If you had told me a few months ago that the Lakers would be in this position, I would have thought you crazy. Instead, the Lakers are fresh from eliminating the No. 2 seed Grizzlies. I trust them to keep things close in Game 1 against the Warriors.

The Lakers have done quite well against the defending NBA champions this season. They have won in two of three matchups and have a 2-1 record ATS vs. the Warriors. It’s worth noting that the Lakers fell, 123-109, in the season opener on October 18, but that was the only showdown where the team still had Russell Westbrook on its roster.

Since making a wide variety of moves at the trade deadline, the Lakers look like a completely different team. Guys like Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and Austin Reaves have really risen to the occasion over time. That’s why I’m counting on the Lakers to at least keep it close – though an outright win isn’t completely off the table.

💰 More choices

Getty Images

Panthers at Maple Leafs, 9:30 pm | TV: ESPN

Last Chances:

Toronto maple leaves -190

The Pick: Maple Leafs (-165) — The Panthers did the unthinkable and knocked out the top-seeded Bruins in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even considering how impressive the Panthers’ performance was, I blur them in this place.

That’s because the Panthers run into a juggernaut in the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs exercised their postseason demons by beating the Lightning in six games to win their first playoff series since 2004. It’s well documented how dangerous Toronto’s offense has been all year, with star forward Mitch Marner ahead.

However, the play of Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov will be paramount to the team’s success. He’s coming off a spectacular performance where he stopped 31 of the 32 shots he landed against the Lightning in a winner-takes-all scenario. I expect Samsonov to play another big game and the Maple Leafs offense to continue doing what they are doing.

Main trend: The Panthers are 2-9 in their last 11 games in Toronto

Lakers at Warriors, 10 p.m. | Television: TNT
The Pick: Stephen Curry under 4.5 threes (+120)
— Listen, I know what you’re thinking. Betting against arguably the best shooter in NBA history in a made threes prop might seem insane. However, if you look closely at the numbers, it’s actually not that crazy.

As I wrote earlier, the Lakers and Warriors faced each other three times during the 2022-2023 regular season. Curry played in two of those games, missing one due to injury. The Warriors star made just 4 of 13 tries from outside the arc on October 18 in the regular season opener. On March 5, Curry splashed 5 of 13 attempts from long range. Over the course of his NBA career, Curry only drills 3.0 threes per game when facing the Lakers.

It will certainly be close, but I’m willing to trust the trends here.

Main trends: Curry has hit four or fewer threes in one of his last two encounters against the Lakers

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