Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers – Game 1 Pick, Odds & Prediction – 9/18/20

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers – Game 1 Pick, Odds & Prediction – 9/18/20

Many expected and hopped for the battle of LA in the 2020 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals, but we’ll see the Denver Nuggets against the Los Angeles Lakers instead. 

The Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit in the previous round to stun the Clippers and bookmakers, too. They will square off against the Lakers on Friday night, so we’re bringing you the best betting pick for Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals along with the latest odds update and most important betting tips and notes.  

Injuries/Suspensions

The Nuggets will be without Will Barton, probably for the rest of the season. The Lakers are coming in full strength, albeit Dion Waiters is questionable to play due to a groin injury. 

The Line

Los Angeles is a 7-point fave on DraftKings, while the Lakers’ moneyline odds are set at -290. Denver is a +245 dog to win straight up, and the totals sit at 211.5 points on Sugarhouse

The Lakers are runaway favorites to eliminate the Nuggets at -600 which tells you enough about the bookies’ expectations in this series. 

What’s at Stake?

The Nuggets have never played in the NBA Finals in franchise history, so they are searching for epic success. On the other side, the Lakers have been waiting for the championship series since 2010 when they outlasted the Celtics in seven games. 

The Spot

Denver is coming off a 104-89 victory over the Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference semis. It was their third straight win, as the Nuggets booked their place in NBA history as the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit twice in the same postseason. 

The Nuggets are fired up, for sure, but the Lakers are confident, too, especially after an easy victory over the Rockets in five games. 

The Matchup

Both Nuggets and Lakers will try to play tough defense and build on it on the offensive end. In three of their previous four outings, the Nuggets limited the Clippers below 100 points, while the Lakers are yielding just 105.2 points per game this postseason. 

Furthermore, the Lakers allow their opponents to make only 43.2% of their field goals. Anthony Davis is a two-way monster, and the Lakers will focus on their interior defense, as they can also play JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard at five. 

This means Nikola Jokic will have a very difficult matchup through this series. The Joker was absolutely unstoppable in the semis, and he tortured the Clippers for 16 points, 22 boards, and 13 dimes in Game 7. 

Jamal Murray has had 40 points and five points last time out, and he needs to be consistent in the Lakers series or the Nuggets will be in big trouble. Nikola Jokic is expected to struggle against the Lakers’ frontcourt on both sides of the ball, so the Nuggets’ backcourt has to play at a high level all the time. 

The Bets

The Nuggets could struggle with fatigue after playing all seven games in the previous two rounds. That’s why I’m backing the Lakers to win and cover a 5-point spread at -160 odds. The Lakers already beat the Nuggets 124-121 in the bubble and are 3-1 straight up and 2-2 ATS against Denver this term. 

If you like to wager on the totals, I suggest you take the under. The Nuggets love to play at a very slow pace, and the Lakers won’t mind joining the party. Anyway, my top betting pick remains the Lakers to cover a 5-point spread. 

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