LA Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Odds, Predictions in 1st Game of the Western Conference Finals

LA Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Odds, Predictions in 1st Game of the Western Conference Finals

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals is Tuesday night as the Denver Nuggets host LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets are solid favorites on the NBA odds for the opener and the series. Denver has never reached an NBA Finals.


Lakers vs. Nuggets, Game 1 | 2023 NBA Expert Analysis


How to Bet LA Lakers at Denver NBA Odds & TV Info

When: Tuesday, 8:30 PM ET
Where: Ball Arena
Stream: ESPN app
NBA Odds: Nuggets -5.5 (total 222.5)


Season Series

The teams split four regular-season meetings and last played way back on Jan. 9 in Denver with the Nuggets winning 122-109. Nikola Jokic finished with 14 points — a perfect 5 of 5 from the floor, 3 of 3 from the line — grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 16 assists for a triple-double. It marked the 12th triple-double in league history with five or fewer shots. Jamal Murray added 34 points. Russell Westbrook was still on the Lakers then and finished with 25 points. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both out injured.


Why Bet on LA Lakers?

There will be no repeat champion in the NBA this year as the Lakers eliminated the defending champion Warriors 122-101 on Friday. LeBron James finished with 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting along with nine rebounds and nine assists. LeBron posted his highest point total of the 2023 postseason while taking his fewest three-point shots (three) over his 12 postseason contests thus far. He snapped a personal streak of 18 straight playoff games scoring under 30 points. James became the second-oldest player with 30 points on at least 70% shooting in a playoff game, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1987.

Anthony Davis had 17 points and 20 rebounds in the clincher. It was the second time in Los Angeles’ 12 playoff contests this season that Davis has pulled down at least 20 boards, and he’s leading all players in the postseason with 14.1 rebounds per game. This season against the Nuggets, Davis averaged 18.3 points, 11.0 boards, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks over three regular-season matchups.

Austin Reaves came up big in the Game 6 win over Golden State with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. He hit perhaps the biggest momentum-shifting shot of the contest, draining a buzzer-beating triple from beyond halfcourt as the second quarter ended to push the Lakers’ lead to 10 going into halftime. Reaves has scored in double digits in all but one of Los Angeles’ 12 postseason contests thus far, serving as a crucial complementary piece next to James and Davis with per-game averages of 15.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

The Lakers have reached their 42nd Western Conference Finals. Los Angeles became the second seventh seed to ever make the Western Finals and first since the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1986-87 season. Darvin Ham is the 10th coach in Lakers history to take the team to the Conference Finals in his first season with the franchise.

The Lakers started the season 2-10 and became just the fourth team in NBA history to be that many games below .500 and reach the conference finals since conferences were instituted in the 1970-71 season. This marks the eighth NBA playoff meeting between LA and Denver and the first since 2020. The Lakers have won all seven of the previous meetings.

Bet Lakers to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game


Why Bet on Denver?

The Nuggets are in the West Finals for the first time since 2020 when they lost to the Lakers in the Orlando bubble. Top-seeded Denver advanced with a 125-100 rout at Phoenix last Thursday. Nikola Jokic finished with 32 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his third triple-double of the series and fifth of the current postseason run across 11 contests.

Jokic averaged 34.5 points per game and a triple-double against the Suns — the second-highest scoring average while averaging a triple-double in a playoff series all time to Russell Westbrook’s 37.4 points per game in the 2017 first round. Jokic is averaging 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game in the playoffs. He has passed Wilt Chamberlain for the most playoff triple-doubles by a center in NBA history.

Jamal Murray was questionable for Game 6 in Phoenix due to illness but had 26 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals in 35 minutes. He’s officially questionable for Tuesday but fully expected to play. Murray has handed out 6+ assists in six games this postseason (5-1).

Former Laker Kentavious Caldwell-Pope notched 21 points in the clincher. Caldwell-Pope has scored in double digits in five of his last seven playoff contests and is averaging 10.5 points while shooting 39.1 percent from deep this postseason. Michael Porter Jr. had 19 points with five made three-pointers and eight rebounds. It was Porter Jr.’s third career playoff game with 19+ points, 8+ rebounds and 2+ assists (3-0) and fourth game this postseason that Porter Jr. made 4+ three-pointers (3-1), tied with Murray for the most games in these playoffs so far.

The Nuggets’ Aaron Gordon will need to be huge in this series for the Nuggets to make their first NBA Finals. He’s the one Nuggets player with the speed, the size, and the strength to adequately deal with LeBron James. Gordon’s role is going to be gargantuan. Gordon is 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, with long arms, and is super athletic, is extremely strong and agile, and is a great defender.

“It seems like for years now, some dusty old cowtown in the Rocky Mountains, the little respect that we get,” Coach Mike Malone said. “And you can sit there and fight it, complain about it or you can just embrace who we are and what we have. And I’d rather not waste time on all the pundits who count us out or don’t give us the respect that we deserve as a team and everything that we’ve been, we’ve done. But there’s one thing we haven’t done — until we win a championship, people are going to keep saying that about us.”

Bet Nuggets to Win Today
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Game


Game Trends

  • Lakers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
  • Lakers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • Nuggets are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 home games.
  • Nuggets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
  • Lakers are 1-5-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Denver.
  • Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Denver.

Expert Prediction

Nuggets 113, Lakers 110


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