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NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Moore’s Lakers vs Nuggets Game 1 Bets

NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Moore’s Lakers vs Nuggets Game 1 Bets article feature image
Credit:

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic (center) of the Denver Nuggets.

  • The Lakers and Nuggets play Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night.
  • Action Network NBA expert Matt Moore expects the game to be fast paced, and has corresponding bets based on this.
  • Continue reading for his Lakers vs. Nuggets player prop picks and analysis.

Lakers vs. Nuggets Odds

8:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Spread: Nuggets -6 | Total: 222.5

An all-time legend seeking what may be the perfect cap on an incredible career.

A superstar seeking to put himself back in the conversation for best big man alive. A two-time MVP looking for his first NBA Finals appearance in what has been an unprecedented rise.

The most popular franchise in the NBA looking to claim the throne of most titles in league history.

An underdog team built from scratch looking for its first ever Finals appearance.

LeBron.

Jokic.

AD.

Nuggets.

Lakers.

Let’s bet Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

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Fast Times at Mile High

The Lakers are trying to replicate their 2020 bubble run, and as part of that equation, they have to push the pace.

Los Angeles has the fastest pace of any team left in the playoffs and averages the third-most fast-break points per 100 possessions of the remaining teams. The Lakers spend 18.4% of their time in transition, the most of the four playoff teams and the sixth most of any playoff team. Their half-court offense is mediocre, so the Lakers know they have to push.

The Nuggets were a high turnover team in the regular season, a byproduct of their passing offense. They’ve been a low-turnover team in the playoffs, even against a Wolves team built around forcing them — but they also faced the Suns, who hardly forced any at all.

The Lakers will dig and scratch at Nikola Jokic on post-ups and at Jamal Murray in pick-and-roll. They will try and force easy scoring opportunities.

Meanwhile, Denver has looked to push pace at home in its own right. The Nuggets have the most efficient transition offense left in the league, and they try and set the tone early in home games.

If you disagree with this play, bet the Lakers moneyline. The Lakers will struggle to win offensive, high-scoring affairs, and the Nuggets, despite a better-than-expected defensive performance thus far, will struggle in a slugfest.


How I’m Betting Lakers vs. Nuggets

Over 222.5 (-108): Pace is the biggest reason the over is my best bet in this game.

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Austin Reaves Over 3.5 Rebounds (-142): Reaves had games of four, four and two boards this season vs. Denver.

The bigger key is that the Nuggets will likely start this game playing at the level of the screen in pick-and-roll coverage as they did against the Suns. That leaves the backside open, and with Jamal Murray likely to take that assignment, Reaves can use his size to grab offensive boards.

On the defensive end, Anthony Davis will likely stay glued to Jokic, who will look to pull him away from the rim. Reaves will also play in the stagger rotation against Denver’s second unit, which struggles to rebound with a small-ball lineup.

Reaves has hit the over on this line in eight of the last 10 games in the playoffs.


Dennis Schröder Over 0.5 Steals (-140; DraftKings): Schröder will continue to be the pest that he is. He’s had at least one steal in eight of the last 10 playoff games. I think Schröder will play heavy minutes in this series, which increases his opportunities.

Michael Porter Jr. Over 2.5 3-Pointers Made (+105): Porter has only hit this in three of the last ten games, so we’re getting a reduced price on him.

He is likely to draw LeBron James in some assignments. James will mostly be matched up on Aaron Gordon, but in minutes when Porter staggers with the bench, there will be times James guards him. James has a tendency to help off in pick-and-roll situations, leaving the corner open, where Porter is brilliantly efficient.

If not James, then Reaves will draw this assignment in small-ball lineups, and he’s too short to defend the 6-foot-10 shooter.

Pick: Over 2.5 3-Pointers Made (+105)


LeBron James Over 5.5 Assists (-115): If I’m right and the Nuggets put two at the level on-ball vs. James, he’s going to whip jumping ball-reversal passes to the opposite corners for threes and rack up assists.


LEAN Nuggets -5.5 (-105; BetMGM): A lot of my props are Lakers focused, which is why this is a lean and not a bet.

The Lakers could win several individual matchups and still lose the game. Denver, at home, has been one of the best teams all season and the best team in the playoffs.

The talk has been that Denver will have to get used to playing a defense as physical as the Lakers’. But the Lakers will have to get used to playing an offense with as many weapons as Denver. I’m staying away for a number of reasons, but if I were to bet a side, it would have to be Nuggets.

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