NBA Playoffs Betting Preview: Nuggets vs Lakers Odds, Pick, Game 3 Prediction

NBA Playoffs Betting Preview: Nuggets vs Lakers Odds, Pick, Game 3 Prediction article feature image

Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Rui Hachimura #28, Dennis Schröder #17, Austin Reaves #15, LeBron James #6 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers huddle up during the 2023 Western Conference Finals.

  • The Denver Nuggets take a 2-0 series lead on the road to Los Angeles for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
  • Can the Lakers defend home court and get back in the series?
  • Andrew O'Connor-Watts details his best bet for Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 3 below.

Nuggets vs. Lakers Odds

Nuggets Odds+195
Lakers Odds-250
Over/Under223.5 (-105/-115)
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Western Conference finals Bubble rematch hasn’t disappointed so far. The Denver Nuggets hold a 2-0 lead in the series, but the Los Angeles Lakers have covered in each road loss (depending on the number you got in Game 1).

Denver remains unbeaten at home this postseason, but so do the Lakers, who host the Nuggets in Game 3 at Arena. We'll see if that trend holds up Saturday.

Let’s breakdown the odds and I’ll give out betting picks in the Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 3 preview.

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Denver Nuggets

Jamal Murray’s 23-point fourth quarter salvaged what was turning into an atrocious performance up to that point. He started the game just 5-for-17, but didn’t let the moment shake him. He ended the game on 6-for-7 shooting, including 4-for-5 from 3, to cement his fifth 20-point fourth quarter — the most since the play-by-play era, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. I wouldn’t recommend fading his points prop, but the over at 25.5 seems fishy after two dominant performances in this series.

Nikola Jokic, by his standards, had a relatively quiet game, despite posting a 23-point triple-double (what a ridiculous sentence). He shot just 9-for-21 and has moved toward facilitating more since the Lakers’ defensive adjustments started in the second half of Game 1. His points prop line of 28.5 seems a tad high to me, but he could easily bounce back with a monster Game 3. Instead of going that route, I’m interested in a small play on his alternate steals line. He had three last game and three in Game 6 of the Phoenix series. So, 3+ at FanDuel (+460) is worth a look.

Someone I’ll be looking into closely is Michael Porter Jr., who has really been unlocked as a rebounder these playoffs. He’s averaging 8.7 over his past six games — up from 5.5 during the regular season. He also has three double-doubles in that span, despite his rebounds prop sitting at just 6.5 at most places.

Los Angeles Lakers

Anthony Davis had a rough night Thursday, but it wasn’t for lack of trying, he just couldn’t sink a shot away from the charity stripe. He contributed in several effort-based categories, getting to the line 11 times and grabbing 14 boards, while continuing his defensive dominance. A prop play at over 3.5 steals + blocks continues to be a strong look as he’s cleared that number in 11 of 14 playoff games. I may look to buy low on his points over at just 24.5.

LeBron James looked out of sorts, especially toward the end of the game. He shot just 0-for-6 from 3-point range and three of those attempts came in the fourth quarter. James notably missed a wide-open layup and mishandled a transition dunk in the first half and I can’t help but wonder if those missteps were a result of being third in minutes these playoffs (528.4). His points under, or perhaps an assist over, could be a solid play for Game 3 as he could look to distribute more.

Rui Hachimura has displayed some hot shooting in this series. He’s missed just five shots on 22 attempts in the first two games. While it seems like he can’t miss, he’s bound for some regression sooner or later.

I’m tempted to take his points under at 13.5, but who says he’ll start missing in Game 3 and not Game 4? That said, he takes a lot of outside shots and layups, which means his size advantage on most of his defenders hasn’t led to many rebounds.

He has just two in 58 minutes this series and hasn’t cleared his line of 3.5 since Game 2 of the Golden State series. If he continues to come off the bench, under rebounds could be a strong look, but wait until lineups are announced before betting it.

Nuggets-Lakers Pick

I like the Lakers to bounce back in this game, but the way I’ll bet them is to go over their team total of 114.5. They’ve gotten a friendly whistle all series and that was on the road in Denver. I expect that to get better at home. The Lakers have also scored 115 or more in all but two of their eight postseason wins and have gone over their team total in four of their past five and six of the past 10 home games. The Denver defense has also struggled on the road and I could see this being a letdown spot. The Nuggets could still win Game 3, but it will likely be in a high scoring game if they do.

Game 3 is also a trendy spot for the Lakers in the first half. I’m all about these situational spots in the playoffs and home teams in the first half down 0-2 are 68-34-3 ATS (66.7%). Coming off a loss this season, L.A. is 28-16 ATS and 5-0 in the playoffs. I’ll take them at any number for the historical spot alone.

My favorite prop play on the Denver side is with Porter Jr. He’s cleared 6.5 rebounds in five of his past six games and even grabbed seven, despite early foul trouble, in Game 2. I’ll also take a stab at a double-double, which he’s hit in three of the past six games, down to +450.

I’ll take a small bet on Jokic 3+ steals at +470 to win a half unit and the same goes for Hachimura’s under rebounds if he comes off the bench.

Pick: Michael Porter Jr. Over 6.5 Rebounds (-110 at DraftKings) .5-Units

Pick: Michael Porter Jr. Double-Double (+575 at DraftKings) to Win .5-Units

Pick: Nikola Jokic 3+ Steals (+460, FanDuel) to Win .5-Units

Pick: Lakers 1st Half -3.5 (-130) 1-Unit

Pick: Lakers Team Total Over 114.5 (-110) 1-Unit

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Sean Treppedi
Jul 17, 2024 UTC