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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Opening Night Preview, Odds, and Prediction

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published October 24, 2023
10 min read

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will head to mile-high to take on Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the first game of the 2023-24 NBA season on Tuesday.

There’s no love lost between these two teams after last year’s Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets swept the Lakers despite a near-40-point triple-double from LeBron in Game Four, and they spent the next few months tormenting the Lakers by calling coach Michael Malone their “daddy,” mocking LeBron’s potential retirement, and much more.

The Lakers played and coaches have hinted that they are excited to match up with the Nuggets again as they attempt to get their revenge. All of that will come to a head when the opening horn sounds on Tuesday night.

Here, we’ll highlight the betting odds for the 2023-24 season opener and preview what we think is to come.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Opening Night Preview

Lakers vs. Nuggets Betting Odds for Tuesday, Oct. 24 

The Nuggets are small favorites over the Lakers on their home court, where they went 34-7 during the regular season last year.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook. Use our DraftKings promo code for a two-part welcome bonus worth $1,250.

TeamsSpreadMoneylineTotal
Los Angeles Lakers+5 (-110)+180Over 228 (-110)
Denver Nuggets-5 (-110)-218Under 228 (-110)

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The Lakers transformed their season at the trade deadline last year, going 18-9 down the stretch and storming past the play-in all the way to the WCF. They played fairly well in that series but were just outclassed by a Nuggets team that made their shots and did not have lapses in concentration the way the Lakers did.

LeBron James is back at the helm in what will be his 21st season in the association. He only shot 44.7% from the field and 26.1% from three in the first month of the 2022-23 season and could be a slow starter again since he spends most of the summer working on his body, not necessarily his game.

Newcomers on the Lakers include Taurean Prince (who is expected to start), Jaxson Hayes, Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, and others. They’ve gone from having few reliable players aside from James and Anthony Davis to being one of the deepest teams in the conference.

On the other side are the Nuggets. They play the best brand of team basketball in the league thanks to the unguardable two-time MVP and this year's favorite for the MVP title, Nikola Jokic. He’s coming off a postseason during which he averaged 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists en route to a championship and looks to be at the peak of his powers.

Jamal Murray also had an exceptional playoff run and averaged 32.5 points in the Lakers series. The key difference for Denver this time around is that their reliable bench has completely changed, with Bruce Brown and Jeff Green headlining a group of players that left in the offseason.

Denver has developed players well recently but still looks thin on paper. They brought back their entire championship starting five and will be fine when they’re on the court, but how the reserves fare is in question.

Lakers vs. Nuggets Prediction and Betting Pick

Our favorite betting pick for this matchup is the over of 228.5 points. We also like Denver to win but aren’t sure about laying the five points.

The Lakers have reason to be excited about the future since this is the most complete team they’ve had since they won the 2020 championship, but we expect LeBron to come slowly out of the gates. Plus, even AD couldn’t prevent Jokic from doing anything and everything he wanted to the LA defense last year.

If there is cause for concern, it is on the bench. A Nuggets second unit led by Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun will struggle to keep pace with the scoring of Vincent, Hachimura, Wood, and others.

Ball Arena is also going to be rocking with the unveiling of the championship banner in Denver’s first game back in front of its fans since winning the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Look for this game to go over the total as the Nuggets start their title defense with a win in what is quickly becoming one of the league’s fiercest rivalries.

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

548 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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