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Nuggets vs. Lakers Prediction: WCF Rematch Brewing in LA

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published February 8, 2024
10 min read

The Denver Nuggets (35-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (27-25) will rekindle their newly developed rivalry when they clash in a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference Finals on Thursday.

The Nuggets are one of three teams tied for the best record in the West and won seven of their last nine games. The Lakers enter the game riding a three-game win streak and 3.5 games out of the last guaranteed playoff spot, the sixth seed. 

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Nuggets vs. Lakers matchup.

Nuggets vs Lakers Prediction

Nuggets vs. Lakers Betting Odds for Thursday, Feb. 8

The Nuggets are favored by 3.5 points on the road. They won six straight games against LA dating back to last season and including a four-game sweep in the WCF, though they’re only 14-12 on the road. 

The Lakers are 17-8 at home.

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Denver Nuggets -3.5 (-110) -165 Over 229.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Lakers +3.5 (-110) +140 Under 229.5 (-110)

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Denver is always going to have one of the most efficient offenses in the league so long as Jokic is standing in the middle. The reigning Finals MVP is averaging a near-26-point triple-double and hasn’t fallen off his lofty standard even during the bleak days of the regular season leading up to the All-Star break.

Where the Nuggets have impressed the most this season is on the defensive end. They look more disciplined on their rotations, give multiple efforts, and can reliably get defensive production from a few of their bench players.

All that said, they took their foot off the gas recently. They allowed 2.6 more points per 100 possessions over the last 10 games than they did for the season as a whole, though they also ranked second in rebound rate during that stretch.

Denver is tough to defend because of its pace. Only the Chicago Bulls average fewer possessions per game, but they get the most out of every time they touch the ball.

The playmaking abilities of Jokic and Jamal Murray combined with the range of skill sets on Denver’s squad allow them to easily flow into numerous looks from all over the court. Even if defenses successfully shut down an action, they’ll move right into another and find an even better look at the basket.

As dominant as Denver has been, the team has a negative scoring differential on the road. They’re also just 9-16-1 (36%) against the spread when playing outside of Denver and 6-13-1 (31.6%) as a road favorite.

The Lakers’ season seemed doomed a month ago. They were under .500, players seemed unsure of coach Darvin Ham, and the team seemed to be in need of a huge roster shake-up at the deadline.

Although the situation is far from perfect, LA is more stable now than at arguably any point in the season since the In-Season Tournament. They won eight of their last 12 games and went 4-1 against teams above .500 during that stretch, most recently beating the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.

D’Angelo Russell’s reemergence has played a huge role in the team looking like a true playoff contender again. He averaged 24 points and 6.5 assists over his last 13 games and put up 28 points and made five threes his last time out.

The purple and gold were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league nearly all year but ranked fourth in percentage (39.7%) over the last 10 games. 

At the same time, LA’s defense has taken a huge hit. They allowed 4.2 more points per 100 possessions over the last 10 games than they did compared to the season as a whole. They’ll need to tighten the screws here to have a hope of slowing down an offense like Denver’s.

Although inconsistency has plagued the Lakers, they’ve been relatively steady at home, posting a net rating of +4.8 in their building. They went 11-13 (45.8%) ATS and were only underdogs five times in crypto (they covered twice).

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Nuggets vs. Lakers Prediction and Betting Pick

The Nuggets might not be an excellent road team, but they proved they can win marquee matchups away from home by beating the Boston Celtics, who were 20-0 at TD Garden when they met a few weeks ago.

One of the key indicators of this matchup will be Anthony Davis. He has to exert so much energy on defense to try to contain Jokic that he’s often been a shadow of himself on offense, most recently seen in LA’s season-opening loss to Denver when he only scored 17 points.

We like the Nuggets to get the job done on the road. Even though LA’s turnaround has been impressive, their fleeting defense will be a major hindrance against a team as efficient as Denver.

How to Watch Nuggets vs. Lakers

  • When: Thursday, Feb. 8, 7:00/10:00 p.m. PT/ET

  • Where: crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA

  • TV: TNT

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

397 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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