Getty Images

Now that the 2024 NBA postseason has begun, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All game lines courtesy of SportsLine consensus unless otherwise specified.

Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans

The Lakers have outscored the Pelicans by 57 points across four games this regular season. The lone Laker loss in the season series came on the second night of a back-to-back after a close loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The formula has remained largely consistent across their four individual matchups: the Lakers have outscored the Pelicans in the paint by an average of 12 points per contest. The Lakers have simply proven too big for the Pelicans. If you're worried about Anthony Davis after he suffered back spasms in Sunday's season finale, this qualifies as a stay-away, but if you assume both teams are healthy, the Pelicans have done little to suggest they're on even footing with Los Angeles. The Pick: Lakers -1

The Lakers have a reputation as a defense-oriented team, but that largely hasn't been true for the past two months. The Lakers are averaging a blistering 120.8 points per game since Feb. 1. Add in the 113.1 the Pelicans have averaged in that span and you get a baseline of nearly 234 points, more than 10 points above the line. Obviously you have to factor in some downturn due to the physical nature of postseason basketball, but with Brandon Ingram back on the floor and the fast pace these teams just played at one Sunday, this game is likely to be somewhat high-scoring. The Pick: Over 223.5

LeBron James has 31 assists in his last two games against the Pelicans. It's not hard to tell why. Herb Jones makes life miserable for any opposing star, so James tends to emphasize passing in this matchup. The Pelicans are a good defensive team, but they have exploitable weaknesses. Either Jonas Valanciunas is too slow to defend James and Anthony Davis in pick-and-roll or Larry Nance is too small for Davis individually. C.J. McCollum is a weak spot the Lakers can and will hunt. James knows how to exploit these weaknesses, so expect a high assist total in this one. The Pick: James Over 9.5 Assists

Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings

Here's a fun fact: Malik Monk, not Domantas Sabonis, was Sacramento's second-leading scorer in the Kings' seven-game loss to the Warriors last season. That makes schematic sense. The Warriors, especially with Gary Payton II injured, have plenty of defensive options in their frontcourt, but no reliable way to slow down guards. Now, however, De'Aaron Fox is really their only perimeter concern. Not only is Monk injured, but so is starter Kevin Huerter. It's just hard to imagine the Kings mustering enough firepower to beat Golden State with two of their most important offensive weapons sidelined. The Pick: Warriors -3

Reputations tend to outlast reality. The Kings are known as an offense-first team after posting the greatest offensive rating in NBA history last season. Their success this season has been a bit more nuanced, but lately, it's come mostly on defense. Since March 1, the Kings rank third in defense and 13th in offense. The emergence of Keon Ellis, as well as some great coaching from Mike Brown, have turned the Kings into a slower, grittier team, and the result should be a lower-scoring affair. The Pick: Under 223.5

Yes, I'm aware Golden State's current roster doesn't have an obvious individual defender for De'Aaron Fox. But without Monk and Huerter in the lineup, sending extra help this way will be significantly easier. As well as he played in last year's series, his scoring average of 27.4 points still comes in two points beneath this very high line. Expect Draymond Green to switch onto him plenty in the pick-and-roll and do everything in his power to force the ball out of Fox's hands. The Pick: Fox Under 29.5 Points

Looking for more NBA coverage? John Gonzalez, Bill Reiter, Ashley Nicole Moss and special guests dive deep into the league's biggest storylines daily on the Beyond the Arc podcast.