NBA Playoffs Picks & Predictions: Our Favorite Betting Angles for Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 3 (Tuesday, Sept. 22)

Credit:

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes the ball during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

  • There are plenty of ways to bet Tuesday's Game 3 matchup between the Lakers and Nuggets.
  • Our NBA crew has found three bets -- one team total, one moneyline and one spread bet.
  • Check out their analysis for tonight's Western Conference Finals matchup below.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: the Denver Nuggets are in a virtual must-win situation with their championship hopes hanging in the balance. That situation has become a typical Tuesday for this Nuggets team. On the flip side, the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to carry the momentum of a game-winner into Game 3.

So, where’s the value today? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for tonight’s Western Conference finals matchup:

  • 9 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

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Tuesday NBA Betting Picks


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Raheem Palmer: Lakers vs. Nuggets

Lakers odds -6.5 [BET NOW]
Nuggets odds +6.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -265/+215 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 213.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV TNT

Looking back at how the Lakers have performed through these playoffs, there’s a clear trend emerging. In 12 postseason games, they’re scoring 118.2 points per game in their wins and 95 points per game in their losses. Their Game 2 victory, which required an Anthony Davis buzzer-beater was the only win in which they didn’t score at least 110 points. In some ways, it speaks to how poorly the Lakers played in the second half of Game 2.

After scoring 1.17 points per possession through the first 24 minutes, they scored just 45 points on 0.95 points per possession for the rest of the game. During the second half, LeBron James shot 2-of-9 for six points and the Lakers shot 6-of-21 from behind the arc.

The Nuggets have shown that they can come back from double-digit deficits during this postseason, but depending on an offensive performance like we witnessed from the Lakers during the second half of Game 2 doesn’t seem plausible.

With the first two games of this series clocking in at 97 possessions, this just isn’t a particularly slow paced series like LA’s matchup against the Houston Rockets. The Lakers had well below their playoff average with just eight fast break points in Game 2 after scoring 16 in Game 1. With the Nuggets coming off a heartbreaking loss and two seven game series, I can’t help but think that Game 2’s performance was an anomaly.

My playoff projections have the Lakers scoring 115 points in this matchup so I’ll take their team total over 110.5 points.

The Pick: Lakers Over 110.5 (-102)

[Bet the Lakers’ team total at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]


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Matt Moore: Lakers vs. Nuggets

I wrote about the Nuggets’ ability to bounce back from devastating losses and how that factors into Game 3 — you can read my full thoughts here — but I’ll detail the crux of that argument below.

No one knew if the Nuggets could actually compete with the Lakers. They managed to compete in Game 2 and lost on a catch-and-shoot game-winner from a career 30% 3-point shooter who hit 33% of his 3s in the regular season (39% so far in the playoffs).

Some teams might be crushed by coming that close to the summit and getting knocked down. The Nuggets are not a team that does things the easy way. They are not a team that has won games or a series from the start. It takes them time to figure a team out, to slowly take things away from their opponents and find advantages where they can apply pressure.

If you’re going to bet Game 3, I wouldn’t go halfway with the spread. The moneyline for the Nuggets is listed between +215 and +230 depending on the book. The Lakers have been told they are amazing for two weeks. The Nuggets have proven to be stubborn to say the least.

I think the Lakers win this series, maybe even in five. I don’t believe it’ll be a sweep. Not yet anyway, despite this being a terrible matchup for Denver. But I like the Nuggets to win Game 3 outright.

The Pick: Nuggets ML (+220)

[Bet the Nuggets +220 at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

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Brandon Anderson: Lakers vs. Nuggets

We were so close to having a real series, or at least feeling like we had a real series for another few days. It’s over now — make no mistake about that. The Lakers are -10000 to win the series in a couple books I checked (please don’t bet $100 to win $1 on LA advancing).

The Lakers did not deserve to win Game 2. LeBron James and Anthony Davis each had one good half, LA hit any number of wonky off balance threes, and they escaped with a buzzer-beater. They were not the better team on Sunday and it didn’t matter.

Unlike a normal postseason, the Nuggets don’t get to go home for this one. There’s no emotional lift waiting. This is their third consecutive series hole, and this one has to sting the most. The Lakers are not the LA Clippers or Utah Jazz. James can smells his 10th NBA Finals appearance and when he’s had a whiff of the finish line this postseason, he’s cranked up the pressure and finished the job.

I won’t be shocked if the Nuggets make a game of this again, but I think the Lakers deliver the effective knockout punch to get this to 3-0. The Lakers have 10 wins this postseason. They’ve covered a -6.5 spread in all of them except that Davis buzzer beater. If  the Lakers win, they should cover this spread, too.

The Pick: Lakers -6.5 (Play up to -7.5)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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