Lakers vs. Nuggets NBA Odds & Picks: Back L.A. to Win 4th Straight Against Denver (Sunday, Feb. 14)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James.
- The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets in a Western Conference Finals rematch Saturday night.
- Can Nikola Jokic step up in his MVP campaign and dethrone the King, or will the Lakers win their fourth consecutive game against the Nuggets?
- Joe Dellera breaks down the matchup and shares his betting pick below.
Lakers vs. Nuggets Odds
|Moneyline||-142 / +120|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday night and via FanDuel.|
The Lakers look to continue their winning ways against the Nuggets after going 8-2 straight up against Denver over the last two seasons.
Can Nikola Jokic step up in his MVP campaign and dethrone the King, or will the Lakers win their fourth consecutive game against the Nuggets?
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers will once again list LeBron James (probable), Anthony Davis (questionable), and Alex Caruso (probable) on their injury report for this game. LeBron has yet to miss a game, and Anthony Davis and Alex Caruso played Friday night against the Grizzlies. Keep an eye on their status using our Fantasy Labs Insiders tool.
The Lakers seemingly have played up or down to their competition this season. But even against top-10 teams in point differential, the Lakers’ defense continues to shine, giving up just 106.5 points per 100 possessions against top-10 teams, per Cleaning the Glass. On the flip side, the Lakers’ offense has struggled a bit in this spot, as they score just 110.7 points per 100, which is about league average.
This spot against the Nuggets is good for the Lakers. Although Davis put up a paltry line (by his standards) of 13 points and nine rebounds in these teams’ Feb. 4 meeting, he creates a matchup issue for Jokic and the Nuggets. He’s able to stretch the floor completely and has averaged 29.6 and 7.7 in his last 11 games against Denver.
The Nuggets look like they will continue to be without PJ Dozier and Gary Harris until at least next week as Mike Malone expects them to return sometime during the Nuggets’ road trip that begins on Tuesday. Will Barton will also be out for personal reasons and Jamal Murray is now listed as questionable with an ankle injury.
Denver has slipped this year when playing top-10 teams. They own just a -3.1 point differential and it’s because they’re getting shredded on defense as they give up 118.4 points per 100 possessions against those teams, per Cleaning the Glass.
Without Dozier and Harris, the Nuggets’ rotations get a bit thin and it forces Michael Porter, Jr. into the starting lineup. While the offense excels with Porter Jr. in the lineup, the Nuggets’ defense is abysmal. It will be interesting to see how Coach Malone manages his minutes against this Lakers team who already has a matchup advantage with Anthony Davis.
When these teams played 10 days ago, Dozier and Harris both missed that game and the Lakers blew the Nuggets out in a 21-point victory. The biggest issue was the Nuggets could not stop the Lakers’ offense, particularly at the rim and in transition.
The Lakers pushed the pace and got into transition on 22.5% of their possessions which is a massive advantage for them. If the Lakers are able to replicate this, they’re going to win. They average transition opportunities on 15.6% of their possessions and score 125.2 points per 100 transition plays, which is about league average.
Denver struggles to stop transition opportunities off of live rebounds, which is a huge problem against a Lakers team who has the fourth-best rebounding rate in the league (52%), per NBA Advanced Stats. I think this is a great bounce-back spot for Anthony Davis and considering the Lakers dominated their last game without Davis putting up a great game, I expect that to continue. However, considering his Achilles injury, make sure he’s playing before locking in this bet.
One more note: DraftKings has a promotion for this game called Hammer the Over. For every 1,000 bettors who bet the over, they dropped the points total by 1 point. It’s a $25 max bet at +100 odds, but the total has been bet all the way down to 0 (zero!) points. Be sure to check out all of the terms and conditions in the above link but I’d say it’s a lock for these teams to score just ONE point.
Pick: Lakers -1.5 or better