Nuggets vs. Lakers Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions: Can Denver Extend Series? (Saturday, Sept. 26)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James (left) guarded by Jamal Murray.
- The Lakers are a 6-point betting favorite over the Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
- While Los Angeles leads 3-1, Denver has hung tough the entire series, and Brandon Anderson is taking a shot on the Nuggets extending it to Game 6 and even beyond.
- Get his full Lakers vs. Nuggets breakdown and bets below.
Lakers vs. Nuggets Betting Odds
|Lakers Odds||-6 [BET NOW]|
|Nuggets Odds||+6 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-250/+205 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||215 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9:00 p.m. ET|
Well, the Denver Nuggets are down three games to one. This series is over. There’s no coming back from this.
Oh wait, that’s not true at all. Am I the first one to suggest the Nuggets have the Lakers right where they want them? Haven’t seen that anywhere on the internet.
The Lakers are not the Clippers or the Jazz though, and LeBron is not… Not LeBron. James is one win away from his 10th NBA Finals appearance, but we know to not count the Nuggets out until the final buzzer sounds. Is Game 5 the start of another great Denver comeback, or is this finally the end?
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Los Angeles Lakers
The big Lakers change in Game 4 was the decision to start Dwight Howard, and that paid off in spades. Howard was huge in the first half and recorded a double-double before halftime, helping LA set the tone early. After being embarrassed on the boards in Game 3, the Lakers won the rebounding battle 41-33 in Game 4 with Howard leading the way.
The big question mark heading into Game 5 is Anthony Davis’ health. Davis went down with what looked like a wicked ankle turn in the fourth quarter, but he stayed in the game and played through it. These sort of injuries can often be worse the day after, and Davis has had a real difficulty playing through injuries in the past.
It’s not a stretch to suggest that Davis has been the best player on the Lakers (and in the entire playoffs), averaging 29 points and 10 rebounds on 66% true shooting with elite defense. Don’t forget how top-heavy these Lakers are. A banged-up Davis makes this team LeBron and a bunch of veteran scrubs, and that hasn’t always been enough in the past. That could also give the Lakers more urgency to get the job done now and get Davis and Bron some rest.
The Lakers cut their turnovers drastically in Game 4 and dominated the offensive glass again, and both James and Davis had 14 free throw attempts. The Lakers are not the prettier or more aesthetic team in this series, but they’re dirtying the game up with defense and old-school ball and getting the job done.
The Nuggets have proven by now that they can hang with any team anywhere, including these Lakers. After a rough Game 1 start, Denver has played the Lakers dead even. They won a close game, lost a close game and lost another on a shot at the buzzer. Denver is not that far from a 3-1 series lead. They could’ve won Game 2 and didn’t lose Game 3 by as much as it seemed, especially with such a dud of a game from Nikola Jokic.
Jamal Murray was awesome again. He’s adding a career highlight every quarter at this point and is still scoring at incredible rates in the fourt. For Jokic, 16 points, seven boards and four dimes is not enough. Jokic was not bad, but he needs to do a lot more if the Nuggets are going to beat the Lakers three times in a row.
It might be time to take the bubble wrap off of Michael Porter Jr. MPJ had 13 points and eight boards in just 20 minutes and remains Denver’s only consistent third scoring option. If Davis is not playing at 100%, maybe Denver can sneak MPJ onto the court more often and not have to hide him so much defensively. It’s hard to imagine Denver winning three times here without a real step up from Porter Jr.
Denver is both in this series and a serious long shot all at once. If you don’t think Denver can win any game against the Lakers, you haven’t been watching the last week. These teams are dead even in points over the last three games.
The Nuggets can hang. But they need to finish the job, too, and they need to do it in three straight games. There’s no more margin for error.
Betting Analysis & Pick
As always with this series, I’m either picking the Lakers to win and cover or going all in on Denver with the money line pick.
As close as these last three games have been, and with the Davis injury, I’m leaning on Denver to keep this series alive. At +205, the Nuggets are an implied 32.8% to win, and that just doesn’t hold up with what we’ve seen over the last week. Maybe Denver isn’t quite 50%, but man, are they close.
I’ll go one step further. Denver is +1600 to win the series right now, and I know, it seems unfathomable for LeBron James to blow a 3-1 lead at this point. But Denver has proven they can hang, Davis is an X-factor and the pressure only gets higher and higher as the series extends.
Conditioning has been a major factor in these bubble playoffs, and the Lakers are the older team by a wide margin. The longer Denver keeps this series alive now, the better their chances to keep going, and the more their belief will grow. If the Nuggets are 50-50 to win each game, they’d be at 12.5% to win the series. And they’re not 50-50! But at +1600, Denver is an implied 39% to win each game. And I don’t buy that.
The Nuggets’ backs are against the wall, but I’m not counting them out yet. I’m taking the Denver moneyline to keep this series alive, and I’m sprinkling a bit of my budget on the long shot series odds, too. Take me home, Denver bubble magic.