NBA Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Favorite Playoff Bets for Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 2 (Sunday, Sept. 20)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets handles during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
- The Nuggets play better in desperate situations, and Sunday's Game 2 could easily fall into that category. So where does the value lie in this matchup?
- Our experts share their favorite bets for Nuggets-Lakers Game 2 below.
Week 2 of the NFL season will clash with Game 2 of the Western Conference finals as the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to build on a dominant win against the Denver Nuggets to start the series. It is widely known that the Nuggets play better in desperate situations, and tonight’s game could easily fall into that category.
So, where’s the value today? Our staff breaks down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and where to find the most value in tonight’s matchup.
- 7:30 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Sunday NBA Betting Picks
Malik Smith: Nuggets vs. Lakers
|Nuggets odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Lakers odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+260/-315 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||213.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Lakers looked absolutely dominant in their double-digit Game 1 win against the Nuggets, but judging by the amount of betting tickets on Game 2, you’d think the result was closer.
Per our data from Sports Insights, the split on spread tickets for Sunday’s matchup is 46% for the Nuggets and 54% for the Lakers. As for the split on the money, it is all on LA with 95% of the money being bet on this game hitting the Lakers.
LeBron James and Co. have covered the spread in the past five games, they are 8-3 against the spread during the postseason and 4-1 in games they are favored by seven or more points, according to our Bet Labs database.
There’s a temptation to buy into the idea that the Nuggets can repeat their amazing comebacks time after time. I’m fading that logic tonight and backing another easy Lakers win.
The Pick: Lakers -7.5
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Brandon Anderson: Nuggets vs. Lakers
I realize the Nuggets just came back from down 3-1 in back-to-back series, but this sure feels like a must-win game for them. You do not want to have to beat LeBron James and Anthony Davis four times in five games. The Nuggets can’t afford to let this series get away from them.
The Nuggets looked good for about 20 minutes in Game 1 before Tony Brothers and Scott Foster took over. I’m not sure we learned a whole lot from that point forward. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Paul Millsap each had three fouls before half, the Lakers lived at the line, and the Nuggets never really recovered.
Because of the blowout, I think the Lakers are a bit overvalued here. The Nuggets’ moneyline implies around a 27% chance of winning the game, and that feels low to me.
In today’s game guide, I wrote about looking for an opportunity to live bet the Nuggets if they fall behind early and the Lakers look overconfident after a quick run. Leads are not safe in these playoffs, and the Nuggets will not fold up shop like the Houston Rockets did.
Here I’ll offer another alternative. I thought Jamal Murray was the key player coming into the series. Murray’s explosion this postseason is the reason Denver is still alive at this stage. In particular, his 3-point shooting off the dribble has been huge. Murray is shooting 50/50/92 for the playoffs, and that 49.6% on 3s is on 7.5 attempts per game.
Denver’s wins have come almost exclusively in big Murray games these playoffs. In eight Nuggets wins, Murray is averaging 32.4 PPG, with at least 26 points six times. In seven losses, he’s scored 21 or fewer all but once.
If the Nuggets do win Game 2, it’ll be because Murray has another big game. If I’m betting on Denver, I’m not satisfied with a cover or even a straight moneyline play. Give me this moneyline parlay with Murray points since the two are far from independent events, and show me an aggressive Jamal Murray for the win.
The Pick: Nuggets to win + Jamal Murray 25+ points (+560)
Reed Wallach’s Top Player Prop
Denver Nuggets, Paul Millsap
The Prop: Under 8.5 Points (-121)
As a Millsap Stan, it hurts for me to be on this under, but I’m not sure there is space on the floor for the veteran this series.
While it was only a game, the results weren’t pretty for Millsap, scoring five points in 20 minutes and picking up three fouls. The game became a blowout pretty early on so there was no need to play him down the stretch, but I believe we see similar minutes in Sunday’s matchup as he’s projected to play 25 in our NBA Lineups tool.
Millsap can get physical with Anthony Davis, but won’t have the length or speed to contain him and is too small to bother the Lakers’ centers. Jerami Grant will probably slide up and play more power forward as the Nuggets shift their rotation a bit and Millsap may be the odd one out.
I’d play this to -135, there likely isn’t enough shots or playing time for Millsap to break nine points in Game 2. You can find more of our top props for Sunday’s game here.