Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets Betting Preview
The Western Conference Finals begin on Tuesday night when the Denver Nuggets (53-29, 34-7 home) take on the Los Angeles Lakers (43-39, 20-21 away) in the best-of-seven game series with a spot in the NBA Finals on the line. Denver and Los Angeles met four times during the regular season, each winning two games.
The tip-off of the series opener is at 8:30 p.m. EST inside Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. Denver is a six-point favorite, and the over/under total is 222 points.
What to Know – Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles became just the second No. 7 seed to advance to the conference finals since the NBA began seeding the NBA playoffs in 1984. The Lakers knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round and finished off the Golden State Warriors in six in the West semifinals.
Offensively, the Lakers enter the finals averaging 112.4 points per game during the postseason while hitting 47.0% of their shots from the field and 33.1% from the 3-point line. On defense, Los Angeles is surrendering 107.3 ppg, 42.2% shooting from the floor, and 33.4% from deep.
The scoring duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis have propelled the Lakers through the first two rounds of the playoffs. James is leading the way, averaging 23.4 ppg, while Davis is adding 21.2 ppg.
The Lakers are 48-45-2 against the spread this season and 21-25-1 ATS in road contests. Los Angeles owns a 5-2 record ATS over its seven games.
What to Know – Denver Nuggets
Denver finished the regular season and came into the postseason as the top-ranked team in the West. The Nuggets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns in the first two rounds of the playoffs to earn a spot in the finals.
The Nuggets are scoring 115.8 points per game during the playoffs, thanks to 48.9% shooting from the floor and 37.9% from beyond the arc. Denver’s defense is allowing 106.6 ppg to opponents on 47.1% shooting from the field and 33.9% from three.
Nikola Jokic was one of the top scorers in the NBA coming into the postseason but has stepped his game up even more, averaging 30.7 ppg in 11 playoff contests. Jokic is hitting 54.9% of his shots from the field and adding 12.8 rebounds per game. Jamal Murray has also increased his points-per-game average compared to the regular season, scoring 25.9 ppg.
Denver is 51-41-1 ATS overall and 30-16-1 ATS inside Ball Arena. Over their last 12 games, the Nuggets are 8-4 ATS.
The Pick is In
Tuesday’s contest will be the first time these two teams have met since Dec. 16th of last year. Denver is a tough team to beat at home, and the Lakers dropped both games in Colorado this season.
Even with the odds stacked against them, we like the Lakers to keep this close thanks to the high-level play of James and Davis. Los Angeles might not win, but the Lakers keep it competitive.
The Pick: Los Angeles Lakers +6