NBA betting: Picks against the spread for Thursday night's playoff games

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The first round of the NBA playoffs continues on Thursday night with two must-win games for the home teams and Yahoo Sports’ Jared Quay has the picks you need for all of the action.

All odds via BetMGM.

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers (-5), Total: 227.5

Can Portland force a Game 7 back in Denver?

The Blazers went down in double-overtime on Tuesday night despite a monster performance from Damian Lillard. The Blazers now return home with the hopes of flying back to Denver for a series-deciding game.

Portland is 5-1 straight-up in its last six games at home and the over is probably a good play here. The over has hit in five of Denver’s last six games and the double-OT game on Tuesday night was an easy over.

Yahoo Sports’ Jared Quay is leaning toward the over in this series once again, and he also has a pick for the game. Maybe Lillard will get some help on Thursday night.

“I think Portland covers the five points pretty handily,” Quay said.

Prop we like: Robert Covington over 1.5 3-pointers (-110)

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (-2.5), Total: 207.5

The health of Anthony Davis is a big reason why the Lakers are favored by less than three at home in a must-win game to stay alive in the playoffs.

Davis missed Game 5 because of a groin injury he sustained in Game 4, and the Suns just walked all over the Lakers. Now the Lakers need Davis to play in Game 6 or they could be staring at a first-round playoff exit after winning the championship a year ago.

The total is one of the lowest of the playoffs as both LeBron James and Chris Paul will likely slow their teams down in the half court. The Suns are 6-2 straight up in their last eight games while Los Angeles is 6-1 straight up in its last seven home games. One of those trends has to get bucked on Thursday night.

“I do think Anthony Davis plays and I like [the Lakers] to cover this 2.5,” Quay said.

Prop we like: LeBron James under 49.5 points+rebounds+assists (-110)

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