NBA Playoffs Lakers at Nuggets Game 1 Betting Preview

In-Season Champs vs Defending Champs in Round One

Los Angeles has already won one NBA Tournament this year taking the In-Season crown, now they hope to get off on the right step to capturing another with a win in the Lakers at Nuggets Game 1 betting matchup.

Denver will try to go back to back for the first time since the 2017/18 Warriors. The Nuggets swept L.A. in the Western Conference Finals last year en route to a 4-1 series win over the Heat, and they’ll try to make short work of the Lakers again because the playoffs can be so grueling. Oddsmakers have the Nuggets a -7 point favorite on Saturday night at Ball Arena.

Why the Lakers Have Value at +7

Los Angeles may have been swept out of the Western Conference Finals last year, but that was after going 6 games with both the Grizzlies and Warriors prior to that. That’s a grueling stretch for a veteran team, especially having to play in the Colorado atmosphere while already a bit fatigued – and all of this as the #7 seed.

An opening round matchup means Los Angeles is more refreshed to face Denver in 2024. Plus the two games at Ball Arena were close, 132-126 and 108-103 which would both cover Saturday’s LAL +7 line. Game 3 was a blowout, but the Nuggets got the sweep by a slim 113-111 margin so these teams matched up well in 2023.

Los Angeles is playing well at the right time, going 13-3 over their last 16. They also have that one guy LeBron James who is still putting up 25/7/8 even as he enters into his 40s. James is also 15-1 in first round playoff series’ in his career.

Why Denver Has Value at -7

The Nuggets are a bad matchup for most teams, but the Lakers have an especially hard time against them on a consistent basis. Denver brings an 8-game win streak vs. L.A. into Saturday night’s game including 124-114, 114-106, and 119-107 this year.

As always with the Nuggets, the player to watch is Nikola Jokic who put up 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists during the regular season which should get him a third MVP award. Jokic dominated the Lakers in the Conference Finals last year averaging a 27.8/14.5/11.8 triple double.

If Jokic and James cancel each other’s production and both teams have nice secondary scorers like Anthony Davis (24.7) and Jamal Murray (21.2) does Game 1 just come down to location? If it does Denver looks like a solid play considering they went 33-8 at Ball Arena this season.

Free Lakers at Nuggets Game 1 Betting Pick

Save for one game, Los Angeles played Denver pretty solid in the West Finals last season and that was at near the end of a long playoffs. They’ve added some veterans like Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood and +7 points is just too many here.

Free Pick: Lakers +7



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