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NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Nuggets vs Lakers Betting Preview

NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Nuggets vs Lakers Betting Preview article feature image
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Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.

  • The Denver Nuggets are short favorites (Spread: -1.5) against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday.
  • The late-game matchup features second-highest over/under (238) on the slate.
  • Corey Parson breaks down the Nuggets vs. Lakers odds and gives his pick and prediction on the total below.

Nuggets vs. Lakers Odds

Nuggets Odds -1.5
Lakers Odds +1.5
Over/Under 238
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers meet for the third time this season tonight at Crypto.com Arena. The split their two previous meetings, but they are vastly different teams since they last played six weeks ago.

Will the Nuggets keep up their winning ways, or can the Lakers pull out a win over a quality opponent after falling short in recent games? Let’s take a look at the Nuggets vs. Lakers odds and find a value pick and prediction for Friday.

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The Confusing Denver Nuggets 

The Nuggets enter tonight’s contest riding a three-game winning streak. They are currently sitting in third place in the Western Conference, 1.5 games behind the conference leading Memphis Grizzlies.

Denver is 7-3 straight up over the course of its past 10 games. Despite the strong moneyline record, the Nuggets are not a good team to wager on, especially in this spot.

On the season the Nuggets are 12-15 ATS and they are 6-10 ATS on the road. Denver is 1-5 ATS over the course of its last six games. To put it simply the Nuggets are overvalued bookmakers know it but NBA bettors have yet to catch on. The Nuggets are tied for 25th in Spread Differential (-2.5), according to Cleaning the Glass, and over the past two weeks, they’ve been even worse (27th, -6.2).

Denver will be without Micheal Porter Jr. again tonight. He has already been ruled out.

The last time these two teams met the Nuggets lost to the Lakers by 11 despite being a 2.5 point road favorite. Tonight they are a 1.5 favorite. The Nuggets are 14-7 on the moneyline and 9-12 ATS as favorites this season.


Are the Lakers Improving Fast Enough?

The Lakers are expected to have Anthony Davis and LeBron James on the floor tonight.  They seem to finally be finding their groove under first year head coach Darvin Ham after a 2-10 start to the season. It looked like they would once again be a team to stay away from at the betting window, but that has since changed.

The Lakers are 9-6 straight up since and 8-5-2 ATS in their last 15 games, according to Bet Labs. In this stretch, they have the seventh-best offense (115.5 points per 100 possessions) in the NBA, according to NBA Advanced Stats, and have maintained a top-15 defense (111.8 Defensive Rating).

Exceptional play from Anthony Davis has sparked the Lakers turnaround. Davis is second in the NBA in scoring in this stretch, averaging 32.4 points on 64.1% shooting from the field. Only Joel Embiid is scoring more points than Davis in that span, and only Nikola Jokic has a better shooting percentage among the top 52 players in field goal attempts.

Tonight is the Lakers’ second game back home after a six-game road trip in which they were 3-3 on the moneyline. Their most recent home game was a four-point overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, their second overtime loss in the past three games.

Nuggets-Lakers Pick

The Lakers are 3-1-2 ATS in their last six home games after going 2-5 ATS at home to open the season. As underdogs, they have been much more scrappy recently — 4-4-1 since Nov. 13 with a 3.38 ATS margin — but have some tough losses in that stretch to the Philadelphia 76ers and Celtics.

This game will likely be decided in the final minutes based on the way the Lakers have been playing in December; they should give the Nuggets all they can handle. With that being said I’m not ready to back either team vs. the spread.

The total for this game opened up at 237 and dropped to 236 before moving back the other way. In the first game these teams played this season, the total closed at 230.5 and went well under. Their next game, the total closed at 229 and went over by two points. At 238, I think this total is too high. Take the under in this nationally televised game.

Pick: Under 238

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