The 2020 NBA Playoffs betting continues Sunday night with Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers took the first blood Friday, easily outlasting the Denver Nuggets 126-114, but we expect to see a tighter contest in the second game of the series.
Therefore, we have prepared all the betting trends and tips along with Game 1 recap, searching for the best value and our best betting pick for the Nuggets versus Lakers showdown.
The Nuggets miss Will Barton, and the 29-year-old wing doesn’t have a timetable to return. It seems like he could remain on the sidelines for the rest of the conference finals. On the other side, the Lakers are without Dion Waiters, who’s out of rotation anyway.
The Lakers are listed as 7.5-point favorites on DraftKings. They covered a 7-point spread in the opener that went way in the over of a 210.5-point total.
The Nuggets are +265 moneyline dogs with a total of 213.5 points on Sunday. The bookies added three points to the totals after a firecracker in Game 1, but they don’t expect to see another one in Game 2.
What’s at Stake?
The Lakers need to stay focused and continue to work hard. They know that the Nuggets have already overcome a 3-1 deficit twice this postseason. The Nuggets should know that their run of overcoming two-game deficits won’t last forever.
That being said, the Lakers are riding a five-game win streak. They had a couple of losing streaks in the regular season, but the postseason Lakers are built differently. On the other side, the Nuggets certainly feel comfortable despite trailing. However, they have some issues to solve ahead of Game 2 against Los Angeles.
The Lakers outplayed the Nuggets in the paint last Friday, and that was exactly what I was expecting to see. The battle on the glass was a tie, and the Lakers scored two points in the paint more than the Nuggets (54-52), but they took 37 free-throw attempts, nine more than Denver.
Furthermore, the Lakers shot 53.0% from the field, while Anthony Davis accounted for 37 points on 12-for-21 from the field and 12-for-15 from the charity stripe. Nikola Jokic found himself in foul trouble early in the first half which was another important factor, and The Joker finished the game with 21 points, six boards, and two assists.
If they want to beat the Lakers in Game 2, the Nuggets will have to play a much better D, especially at the perimeter. They need to be more aggressive, but the Nuggets also have to slow down the pace. Denver doesn’t stand a chance against the Lakers in a game with 220+ points.
Only three Nuggets players scored in double figures in Game 1, so they desperately need more from their role players on the offensive end. On the other side, the Lakers got some great energy off the bench. Dwight Howard had 13 points along with a couple of steals and blocks, while Rajon Rondo added seven points and nine dimes.
I was backing the Lakers at 5.5 points on Friday, and I’m doing it again Sunday at -160 odds. The Nuggets lost a lot of fuel in the previous two rounds, but they should make this one interesting to watch, so I would buy that two points just in case of a close finish.
Anyway, I think the Lakers have some weapons that the Nuggets cannot slow down. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see just four or five games in this series, but the Nuggets have already made some historic comebacks, so you never know.
When it comes to the totals, I would stay away from it and stick with the spread. I was expecting a low-scoring affair last Friday, and the 213.5-point line seems sharp.