Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers betting tips and predictions for Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs game on ESPN. It’s a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals as the Lakers and Nuggets begin their series squaring off in Game 1. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.
Game 1 could be a pivotal game for both the Lakers and Nuggets as they tip things off at Ball Arena tonight. Denver did win both home games during the 4 regular season meetings, but as we saw in the first 2 rounds the Lakers are quite dangerous when opening a series so they cannot afford to relax here.
Entering tonight’s game Nikola Jokic and co. are 8-0 in their last 8 home games and are yet to lose in their own arena in these playoffs. The 2-time MVP is putting up 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game in the postseason, all while shooting 55% from the field and better than 47% from downtown. His match-up with Anthony Davis will determine who comes out of the West.
Los Angeles Lakers
LA is basing it’s optimism for Game 1 on the 2 series openers vs Memphis and Golden State, both of which they won on the road. They’re one again the underdogs here, at least on paper. This team has 15 wins in 20 games and is 5-2 ATS in their last 7, but most importantly they are injury free which is the main reason why people have them advancing from this series.
The oddsmakers disagree with that though, they’re giving LA just a 42.1% chance to win the series opener, and in order to eliminate the Nuggets they’ll have to win at least 1 road game in this series. Back in the 2020 West Finals, LA came out on top 4-1 with Anthony Davis carrying them averaging 31.2 points per game. LeBron James was a close 2nd with 27 points, 10.4 rebounds and 9 assists per game.
For Game 1 the spread has been set at 6 points, which is pretty modest considering Denver won by 11 and 13 in the 2 regular season games at Ball Arena. With Jamal Murray being questionable with a non-Covid illness here, I think this is the Lakers’ chance to shock Denver, so let’s back LA to cover here.
Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Predictions & Odds
The pace was pretty fast in the 3 of 4 regular season meetings as the two teams cleared the projected total of 222 points which we have for Game 1. The Lakers do have the number one defensive rating in these playoffs so far, however on the road 9 of their last 11 games have all gone over the total, including 6 of their last 9 vs teams from the Northwest Division. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have the best offensive rating at 118.7 points per 100 possessions this postseason.
Scoring on the Lakers will be a challenge though, a lot bigger one than in their first 2 rounds vs Minnesota and Phoenix. Regardless of that, I like their offensive outlook here. Nikola Jokic is averaging almost a triple double and getting everyone involved, so even if Murray doesn’t play someone else should be able to step up. The over has cashed in 12 of the last 18 meetings, expect that trend to continue tonight. Back the points.