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Las Vegas Expert Picks: Trail Blazers-Warriors Game 1

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and Seth Curry #31 of the Portland Trail Blazers look on before the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.

LAS VEGAS — Don’t have to speculate about Kevin Durant cuz he is OUT! Golden State is still a very healthy 7.5- or 8-point favorite depending on where you shop. Before jumping on a side, let’s see what happened during the regular season. The first meeting was in Northern Cali and the Warriors (-1) smoked the Blazers 125-97. The OVER/UNDER total was posted at 218.5 and was an easy OVER. Oh yeah, KD played 38 minutes, scored 32 points and had nine boards, seven assists, three blocks and two steals.

NBA Western Conference Final pick

In the next game, GSW (-9) lost to Portland at home 110-109, with the posted total of 227 going UNDER. KD played 42 minutes, scored 26 points and had 10 boards, 11 assists, one block and one steal. Quick turnaround up in Portland two days later, the Dubs (-5) beat the Blaze 115-105. The O/U total was 226.5 and went UNDER.

Of course you want some KD??? Gotcha. He played 34 minutes, scored 25 points and had just two boards, five assists, one block and one steal. In the final meeting in Portland, the Warriors (-2.5) took one on the chin, losing 129-107. The posted total was 235 and went OVER. And of course KD. He played 33 minutes, scored 32 points and chipped in four boards, two assists, two blocks and zero steals.

So, obviously, Durant is a YUGE factor, and without him, the Dubs are stretched a bit thin. However, we do remember that they won a ring WITHOUT KD back in 2014-15, so there’s that. But GSW has been covering at an anemic pace, cashing only three tickets in the last nine outings. Tough call, but if we find a snowman, we’ll take a bite plus the 8.

Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...ben@americasline.com.