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Lakers vs. Nuggets Prediction: Will the Lakers’ Time Finally Come?

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published April 22, 2024
12 min read

The Los Angeles Lakers have their second of two tries to earn a split on the road when they face the Denver Nuggets in Game Two of the Western Conference Playoffs on Monday night.

The Nuggets managed to take a 1-0 series lead in their typical calm and collected fashion. While the Lakers played Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and D’Angelo Russell for at least 41 minutes each, the champs went five deep off the bench and even allowed DeAndre Jordan to get playing time.

The Lakers had no problems winning at home during the regular season but are now 19-22 on the road including the Game One loss. Their best chance to beat Denver should be during the first round when they’re healthy and have more rest between games, but that theory is off to a poor start.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite pick for Lakers vs. Nuggets Game Two in the playoffs.

Lakers vs Nuggets 2024 04 22

Lakers vs. Nuggets Betting Odds for Saturday, April 20

The Lakers are 40-45 (47.1 percent) against the spread and 14-12 (53.9 percent) ATS as a road underdog. They covered in two of their last six games and in none of their four meetings with the Nuggets this season.

Denver is 39-42-2 (48.2 percent) ATS and 21-19-1 (52.5 percent) ATS as a home favorite. They covered in five of their last six and are picking up right where they left off during their Finals run a year ago.

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Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Los Angeles Lakers +7.5 (-110) +240 Over 223.5 (-115)
Denver Nuggets -7.5 (-110) -300 Under 223.5 (-105)

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Lakers vs. Nuggets Prediction

Los Angeles Lakers Preview

The Lakers closed the regular season in blistering form, going 24-10 down the stretch and posting some of the best offensive numbers in the entire league. Their paint presence was complemented by elite three-point shooting, and the rim protection of Anthony Davis allowed them to anchor down in crucial moments. 

All of the positive signs are now at risk of being rendered meaningless. While it’s too early to give up on them, seeing as it was only one game on the road against a more rested team, this feels like a movie the world has seen before.

LA came out looking assertive and tenacious early on. They went into halftime with a three-point lead but slowly trailed off toward the end of the game as Denver’s high level of execution wore on them and they could not respond.

Darvin Ham made characteristically terrible decisions with his lineups and rotations, such as playing two bigs when Nikola Jokic was off the court and none when he was on. Russell also looked a lot more like the version of himself that was played off the court in the conference finals a year ago rather than the one who closed the season playing tremendous basketball, ultimately finishing with 13 points on 30 percent shooting.

The Lakers need more production from their supporting cast to have a chance in this series. As tremendous as LeBron James is, he’s run into a player who’s not only better than he is, but for the first time is also just as if not smarter. He no longer has the ability to control a series with his mind and elevate his team above where they should be.

Taurean Prince scored all 11 of the bench’s points, and the team combined to go 8-29 (27.6 percent) from beyond the arc. They can’t get away with that and playing lackadaisical defense against the favorites to win the West.

Denver Nuggets Preview

The Nuggets are who they are: a dominant team whose offensive chemistry and defensive commitment make them close to unstoppable in a seven-game series.

Nikola Jokic completely took over Game One as soon as he flipped the switch and decided to aggressively hunt his shot. He finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists even though Denver as a whole didn’t produce any groundbreaking shooting numbers.

The Nuggets didn’t panic after falling behind early on and stayed true to who they were. Interestingly, they ran plays on either 67-68 percent of plays in every quarter, while the Lakers’ play-calling declined in every quarter until they hit just 39 percent in the fourth quarter.

This could be a situation where the Lakers simply don’t have the personnel to guard the Nuggets. Even though they have size with James and Davis, they don’t have a 6-foot-10 three-point sniper in Michael Porter Jr., a long and quick guard to stay in front of Jamal Murray, or a proper matchup for Jokic.

On top of that, Denver has the best net rating (+24.5) in the entire NBA in clutch situations. They also went 34-8 at home including Saturday’s result and outscore opponents by an average of 10.1 points per 100 possessions in their building.

It feels unfair to ask the team to keep this standard of excellence against the same opponent, but they’ve beaten the Lakers nine times in a row and always seem prepared for everything they throw at them.

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Lakers vs. Nuggets Betting Pick

It’s tough to have any faith in the Lakers winning at this point, even though they kept Game One somewhat close and were competitive last year.

Coach Ham isn’t doing his team any favors with his decision-making, whereas Michael Malone is coaching circles around LA’s entire staff. Jokic is also doing a better job of controlling the on-court action and is unstoppable when he decides to aggressively hunt his shot.

We entered this series expecting to see the Lakers win a couple of games, but we like the Nuggets on the spread in Game Two.

How to Watch Lakers vs. Nuggets

  • When: Monday, April 22 @ 10 p.m. ET

  • Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

  • TV: ABC

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

528 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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