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NBA expert Eytan Shander is back, breaking down the only game on tap for Saturday's slate

There’s nothing better after a night of getting crushed than bouncing right back tonight! We have a big one for sure, the lone action features the Lakers and Rockets in what should be their final game of the series. From the line to a player prop, we have you covered.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

BET: Lakers -6.5 @ +100

The Rockets just haven’t looked right since they took game 1 of this series. The small ball mentality can’t really work if James Harden isn’t making shots, nor if Russell Westbrook can’t get out of his own way. The rest of the supporting cast isn’t providing much support, or really anything for that matter. Tonight is simply one team that’s barely alive going up against another that’s focused on winning a championship. The Lakers should roll tonight for a couple of big reasons. First, just close the door on this team as fast as possible. There might be some life left in Houston, enough to start putting pressure on LA. It’s easily avoided tonight with a convincing win. We are definitely looking at an 8-10 point victory. Which brings us to the second reason, the Lakers bench. They will play well enough tonight to keep a late lead, which is huge to prevent the backdoor cover. Rajon Rondo has been consistently leading this unit; that veteran leadership is key in stopping a run or holding the lead.

BET: Russell Westbrook Under 24.5 Points @ +100

There’s already pressure building around the Rockets from the future of a couple of players, right up to their head coach. The Westbrook/Harden experiment looks to be a failure. The mess that will end tonight will be facilitated by a poor performance – once again – from Westbrook. He may scrap to get 20, but he won’t be a major scoring factor. The focus will continue to be on his teammate in Harden, who was putrid last game. The scoring volume will be handled primarily by Harden tonight, who has heard a ton of criticism of his own work. I’d expect him in the 40’s at least. There’s also Mike D’Antoni not wanting to rely on Westbrook in what could be the coach’s final game in Houston. Expect a heavy dose of 3’s from Robert Covington and Eric Gordon. Westbrook is going to have to get his points from the FT line, which could slow down some Houston runs. The value here is even money on the return, as it’s a lower point total. But don’t let that scare you away, this is desperation mode and Harden is going out firing.

BET: ML & Total 215.5 – Lakers & Under @ +180

This in-game parlay allows us to take advantage of the obvious, Laker close out the series, while getting more vale on the total. We’ve eliminated the spread and are focused solely on how LA will keep Houston from scoring. The games have been getting tighter as we get deeper into the playoffs, totals have also dropped throughout. Houston simply can’t get a consistent effort out of their entire team, when one thing works, three other things go wrong. LA is motivated to close this thing out and the worst thing you can do is get into a shooting contest with the Rockets, allowing any door to remain open. Anthony Davis and LeBron James will lead a clamp-down on Houston right from the opening tip. I’d be rather surprised if we see the Rockets hit high 90’s – let alone 100+ points. There is enough motivation to close this out in 3 quarters, allowing some needed rest for starters heading into the WCF. Love LA winning and shutting down Houston’s offense!


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