Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers odds, Game 1: 2018 NBA playoffs picks, predictions from expert who's 10-2

The Trail Blazers emerged from the Western Conference playoff scrum with the No. 3 seed and host the Pelicans in Game 1 of their opening-round series Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Blazers are favored by 5.5, up a full point from the opening line, while the over-under, or total points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 217, down 1.5 from the opener.

The teams split four regular-season games, each winning one at home and one on the road. Each also had issues slowing down stars.

With so many angles to consider, you need to read what SportsLine NBA expert Galin Dragiev has to say.

Dragiev has put together a blistering 10-2 run on his recent picks involving Portland. That includes going against the Blazers and taking the Nuggets (-4.5) in an 88-82 Denver win, and on March 29 taking Portland (-6) in a 105-96 win over the Clippers.

He has won five straight picks for or against Portland since March 20.

Part of his success: Dragiev, a fantasy sports guru, learned to predict outcomes of games before determining how success trickles down to individual players. It certainly works: SportsLine's No. 1-ranked NBA handicapper is running a 16-6 NBA streak as well. Anyone who's following him is up big. 

Now, he has locked in a must-see play for Saturday.

Dragiev knows that while these teams went 2-2 against each other, the Blazers couldn't handle New Orleans' big men in any of the four games.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 39 and 38 points in the first two games before his season-ending Achilles injury. Anthony Davis scored 36 points in each of the final two games.

At the same time, the Pelicans struggled to slow Damian Lillard. He had only 13 in the opening game -- a 10-point Blazers win on Oct. 24 -- but averaged 31 in the final three meetings.

New Orleans finished the regular season strong, winning its final five and covering in each. The Pelicans are one of the NBA's more successful road teams against the spread at 26-15, while the Blazers are solid at home (21-15-5).

Aside from the home-court advantage of the Blazers, does either team have an edge? Dragiev has found one, and he's confidently backing one side for Game 1, available exclusively at SportsLine.

So which side should you jump on? Visit SportsLine now to see the strong point-spread pick by Dragiev, who is on an 83-percent cash streak on Blazers picks and is crushing sportsbooks.

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