Lakers vs. Nuggets Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Will L.A. Rise to the Occasion in Denver?
Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Davis (3), Kyle Kuzma (0), LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lakers at Nuggets Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Spread: Lakers -2.5
- Over/Under: 220
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Their overall record might not reflect it, but the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been same dominant team from earlier in the season — especially on defense.
Over their past 10 games they rank in the middle of the pack in defensive rating and are on the road facing the fourth-best offense in the NBA over the same stretch.
Can bettors expect the Lakers to be motivated against the Nuggets in their last game before the all-star break? Our NBA experts preview the betting angles of the matchup including their picks below.
Betting Trend to Know
The Nuggets (38-16) are 2.5-point home dogs against the Lakers (40-12). When two good teams (won at least 70% of games) play, the underdog has gone 204-173-7 (54%) ATS in the regular season since 2005.
Home dogs, like the Nuggets, have gone 47-32-4 (60%) ATS. -- John Ewing
Matt Moore: Leaning (but Leery) Toward Denver
This basically comes down to whether the Nuggets can make shots on offense and stop the Lakers from executing lob passes on defense. I know that first part is essential to winning any basketball game, but it’s also been a struggle for Denver.
They’re 16th in points per possession on jump shots this season, 16th on catch-and-shoot opportunities. The addition of Jordan McRae helps in that regard, but Denver is still shorthanded on the wing.
The lob is more interesting. The Nuggets have started playing Jerami Grant more and his athleticism helps. They added Keita Bates-Diop on the wing who can help in that department, too. And Nikola Jokic has improved at anticipating those plays over the course of the season.
If this gets to Lakers -3.5, I like Denver. Below that, I think it’s a stay-away. The Lakers’ defense has regressed and the Nuggets are playing well, especially at home. But I need them to be getting more than a possession to feel good, and even then I’m only taking the points and not the moneyline.
Wob: The Wrong Team is Favored Tonight
In what world are the Nuggets an underdog, at home in the last game before the all-star break?
They are back to full strength in the health department and all of their reinforcements from the trade deadline are fully-integrated into Malone’s system. With Jamal Murray back, that high pick-and-roll with Nikola Jokic has never looked so good. Everyone knows it’s coming, yet teams still can’t stop it.
Oh, by the way, Jokic is now the most-clutch player in the league, recently recording his eighth game-winning shot in the calendar year. As for this game, the Nuggets’ most-recent performances against the Jazz and Spurs showed you a lot about this team’s character.
Down to seven men, they went to Salt Lake City and pulled off a gargantuan upset giving them a massive leg up in the Northwest Division race. Then they came home and erased a near 20-point deficit against the Spurs like it was absolutely NOTHING to win in dramatic fashion.
The Lakers are eating orange slices during timeouts and the Nuggets are washing their mouths with a glass of thumbtacks. That’s a lot of words to say the Nuggets are winning this game. They’re just better. Right now, at least.
The PICK: Nuggets +2.5
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.