Lakers – Nuggets Betting Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA Championship the last time they made it to the Western Conference Finals, hoping to repeat that trend when they face the Denver Nuggets in that stage a decade later.
Those two teams open their conference series on Friday seeking a spot in the 2019-20 NBA Finals, where they stand to face either the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat.
LeBron James may prefer a date against his former side out of that pair, but the 35-year-old—recently selected to the All-NBA team a record 16th time—knows the Nuggets will be no pushovers:
The first player in NBA history to make 16 All-NBA teams:
LeBron James pic.twitter.com/cE2U2RRDxS
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 16, 2020
Lakers vs. Nuggets Prediction
The sportsbooks might think differently based on the odds, however, with Denver listed as high a +450 with for Colorado customers. The Lakers are fancied to chow down on the Nuggets and sit at -600 to win the series after they thrashed the Portland Trail Blazers 4-1 in the western semi-finals.
Michael Malone’s side perhaps deserve some more credit after coming back from 3-1 down to devastate the Los Angeles Clippers 4-3 in their own semi. Many might be expecting the Lakers to give a sterner test, but the head-to-head may not be as slanted as the odds suggest.
The Lakers beat Denver three times during the 2019-20 regular season, but that’s the first time in eight years they’ve managed the feat. The Nuggets have clinched at least two wins over their west-coast opponents every year since 2011-12.
That being said, LA’s play-off record against the Nuggets is somewhat more conclusive (21-7), having triumphed in each of their five post-season meetings.
It was just over a decade ago these teams last met in the Western Conference Finals, when Kobe Bryant helped lead the Lakers to a 4-2 series victory:
His old team are +320 at CO to repeat that scoreline 11 years on, or +525 to edge it by a single game (4-3).
Denver’s only two visits to the Western Conference Finals each came against the Lakers (2009, 1985), but their comeback against the Clippers showed there’s mettle to this team. Star center Nikola Jokic gives the team presence against a talisman like Anthony Davis, while Jamal Murray has elevated his game phenomenally of late.
Prediction: Lakers to win conference 4-2
Lakers vs. Nuggets Series Winner Odds
Los Angeles Lakers: -600
Denver Nuggets: +450