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Nuggets vs. Lakers Prediction: LA in a 2-0 Hole

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published April 25, 2024
12 min read

The Denver Nuggets will take a 2-0 lead on the road into Game Three of their first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday evening.

The Nuggets came back from first-half deficits in each of the first two games, the most recent capped off by a Jamal Murray buzzer-beating game-winner. They beat the Lakers in all 10 of their most recent meetings and can effectively end the series with a win tonight.

The Lakers are running out of answers to a question they never began to solve. Anthony Davis said the team floats around with no direction during games, and only one bench player has scored in the series. Teams that go down 0-2 in the first round win their series less than seven percent of the time, which means the Lakers are in dire straits.

Here are the odds and our best betting picks for Game Three of the Nuggets vs. Lakers series on Thursday.

Nuggets vs. Lakers Prediction 2024 04 25

Nuggets vs. Lakers Game Three Betting Odds for Thursday, April 25

The Nuggets are 39-43-2 (47.6 percent) against the spread and 13-18-1 (41.9 percent) ATS as a road favorite. They covered in Game One and in four of five matchups with the purple and gold.

The Lakers are 41-45 (47.7 percent) ATS and 5-7 (41.7 percent) ATS as a home underdog. They covered by 5.5 points in Game Two and in three of their last four games dating back to the regular season.

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Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Denver Nuggets -1.5 (+100) -110 Over 215.5 (-105)
Los Angeles Lakers +1.5 (-120) -110 Under 215.5 (-115)

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Nuggets vs. Lakers Game Three Prediction

Denver Nuggets Preview

It almost feels as if the Nuggets are toying with the Lakers at this point.

Through two games, the Nuggets posted first-half numbers of a 102 offensive rating, 121.4 defensive rating, and -19.4 net rating. 

That’s juxtaposed by second-half numbers that include a 129.5 offensive rating, 92.2 defensive rating, and 37.3 net rating—by far the best in the playoffs. 

Denver has been able to beat the Lakers into submission with their unrelenting offense and outstanding execution. They have a 3.53 assist-to-turnover ratio and turnover percentage of just eight, both of which are also the best of every team in the postseason. 

What’s even more encouraging for the Nuggets is that Jamal Murray is still yet to truly get off the mark. He drained a buzzer-beating game-winner in Game Two and is not playing poorly, but he’s only averaging 21 points and 7.5 assists on 37.5 percent shooting (28.6 percent from three).

Those numbers are well below what he posted during the conference finals against LA a year ago, when he averaged 32.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 52.7/40.5/95 shooting splits.

The Nuggets were better on the road this year than they were during their title-winning season in 2023, but they still only managed a +0.9 net rating away from Ball Arena. Their resolve will be put to the test against a Lakers team that was great in their building all year.

Los Angeles Lakers Preview

What’s it going to take for the Lakers to finally break their 10-game losing streak against the Nuggets?

D’Angelo Russell had his best playoff game since his return to LA in Game Two, going for 23 points and six assists with seven three-pointers. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have also played great, and LA, again, held halftime leads in both games thus far.

Everyone else aside from those three has been disappointing. Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves are yet to make an impact in the series, while the entire bench scored a total of 17 points across both games. Even worse, all 17 came from one player, Taurean Prince.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham is also being thoroughly outcoached by Michael Malone. There’s a real argument that the Lakers would have beaten or at least extended the Nuggets last year with a better coach, and the same is proving to be true this time around.

Ham’s baffling decisions include playing Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes in the same lineup after Nikola Jokic went to the bench, rolling out his three-guard lineup in the fourth quarter in a crucial stretch, and calling a decreasing amount of plays in every quarter. Perhaps that's why the Nuggets grow more assertive down the stretch and why Davis said the Lakers don’t know what to do at different points of the game.

The purple and gold went 28-14 and had a net rating of +4.6 at home, making them 8.1 points per 100 possessions better in their building than they were on the road. They need to win Game Three, or else the series will be a foregone conclusion.

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Nuggets vs. Lakers Game Three Betting Pick

It’s difficult to look back at the last six playoff matchups between these two teams and imagine the Lakers did not win any of them, especially since they had the highest percentage of wins in clutch games this year.

LeBron James accepted a lot of burdens throughout his career but must will his team to victory on Thursday for LA to believe it can compete in the series.

We still do not believe that will happen, and expect the Nuggets to win this game. They have the Lakers’ number and seem capable of winning in any context.

How to Watch Nuggets vs. Lakers Game Three

  • When: Thursday, April 25 @ 7:00/10:00 p.m. PT/ET

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

  • TV: TNT

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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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