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Lakers vs Nuggets Western Conference Finals, Odds, Best Bets & Predictions

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 4 mins

Lakers vs Nuggets Western Conference Finals, Odds, Best Bets & Predictions

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LeBron James remains on his quest for an 11th NBA Finals bid, but it won’t be easy as his Los Angeles Lakers take on two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. 

The Lakers dispatched with Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the second round. The Lakers and Nuggets split the regular-season series 2-2, though LeBron and Anthony Davis didn’t play in the most-recent game, a three-point Denver victory on Jan. 9.

All things considered, that was much different Lakers’ roster. That game was played a month before the trade deadline deals that helped transform LA into the title contender it is today. Speaking of titles, this a rematch of the 2019-2020 Western Conference Finals that took place in “The Bubble.” The Lakers prevailed 4-1 in that series and went on to win their 16th NBA title. 

Ahead of Game 1, Bookies.com handicapper Adam Thompson breaks down the series and makes his NBA betting pick to back on betting apps.

Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 1 Odds

Lakers vs. Nuggets Betting Tips

Over The Moon: In the last 10 years, the Over has hit in 65.9% of meetings between the Lakers and Nuggets. That’s a long trend, but it’s also hit in 75% of the games in Denver the last four seasons (and in nine of the last 11 Lakers road games in general). The O/U for Game 1 is 222.5, despite the last three meetings of this season totaling a consistent 231, 234 and 231 points. 

Joker’s Wild: Nikola Jokic averaged 34.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists in six games against Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. He seems to be on a mission to get Denver to the NBA Finals for the first time ever. 

In the three games against LeBron this season, Jokic upped his scoring and rebounds numbers compared to his regular season averages, while his assists were down. The one thing that gives Nuggets' backers pause? Jokic averaged 21.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists against Anthony Davis in the 2019-2020 Western Conference Finals - the second-lowest scoring average of his playoff career. That matchup could again be the deciding one.

LeBron’s Quest: LBJ’s scoring vs. the Grizzlies was down a whopping 6.7 ppg from his season average, and his Warriors stats were -4.2. His assist numbers were noticeably down as well. But he also took on top-tier, quicker defenders in those two series. He’ll likely face Aaron Gordon here, who is more physical but may not be able to slow down an attacking LeBron. There is no capable defensive backup either. 

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Lakers vs. Nuggets Best Bets

The Lakers battled injuries all season, which is part of the reason they were just a No. 7 seed. But they’re healthy now, and Ja Morant’s Grizzlies and Steph Curry’s Warriors couldn’t stop them. Can Denver, which remains relatively healthy en route to the conference regular-season title, stop the trending Lakers? 

Of course they can. Denver is -155 to win the series at online sportsbooks, L.A. is +130. Each side has reason to own optimism. The Lakers’ top-ranked post defense matches up with the Nuggets’ No. 1 post-first offense. Jokic is a unicorn that can produce against any defender, including AD, and Denver has the better bench. 

Each team is going to get theirs at home. Over a seven-game series, we can take both teams and look forward to a great series. Nuggets In 7 (+300) and Lakers In 7 (+600) can be played. 

Lakers vs. Nuggets Schedule

  • Game 1: Los Angeles at Denver, Tuesday, May 16, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 2: Los Angeles at Denver, Thursday, May 18, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Game 3: Denver at Los Angeles, Saturday, May 20, 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Game 4: Denver at Los Angeles, Monday, May 22, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • *Game 5: Los Angeles at Denver, Wednesday, May 24, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • *Game 6: Denver at Los Angeles, Friday, May 26, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • *Game 7: Los Angeles at Denver, Sunday, May 28, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been established as one of the nation's premier handicappers, specializing in the NFL where he's hit on more than 60% over the past three years. Adam's NBA, PGA and horse racing picks have also produced major winners over the last 12 months. His customized NFL and NBA odds for players and teams have been picked up by hundreds of websites over the past year.