The Lakers and Nuggets continue their battle for the Western Conference title Tuesday night in the bubble, as Game 3 of their final series is on the schedule, bringing plenty of interesting picks and markets to choose from.
The Nuggets are already in a difficult situation and desperately need a win, while the Lakers want to take full command, so Tuesday’s clash has so much on the table for both clubs. The NBA Playoffs goes on, and we bring you the best betting pick for the Western Conference Finals showdown between the Lakers and Nuggets.
The Lakers are without Dion Waiters (groin), while the Nuggets miss Will Barton (knee).
Los Angeles is listed as a 6.5-point fave with a total of 214.0 points on BetAmerica. The Lakers’ moneyline odds sit at -260, while the Nuggets are +225 underdogs to win straight up.
What’s at Stake?
No team has ever managed to overcome a 3-0 deficit in NBA history, so the Nuggets cannot afford another loss. Still, the Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit in each of the previous two rounds to become the first team to make such a feat in the NBA Playoffs, so you never know with this Denver team.
Anyway, the Lakers possess some very experienced guys who will know to preserve a 3-0 lead. They almost blew a 16-point lead in Game 2, but the Lakers kept coolness down in the final minute of the game and outlasted the Nuggets.
Anthony Davis hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and that’s a huge boost for the Lakers’ confidence and a proper kick in the teeth for the Nuggets.
The Lakers dismantled the Nuggets in the opener and won it 126-114 while leading by as many as 27 points. They had a 16-point lead with 7:52 to go in the third quarter last Sunday, and it looked like another easy job for the Lakers, but the Nuggets rallied and took a 103-102 lead with 20.8 seconds left on the clock in the fourth.
Alex Caruso and Danny Green missed a couple of chances before Anthony Davis got his to decide the winner. It was a catch-and-shoot triple off the inbound pass, but Mason Plumlee made a massive mistake, leaving Davis wide open.
The Lakers struggled offensively following the break, but Anthony Davis scored 22 of their 45 second-half points including the last 10. He was tortured by Nikola Jokic for most of the game, as The Joker had 30 points on 9-for-20 shooting from the field and 11-for-12 from the charity stripe.
After a terrible defensive performance in Game 1, the Nuggets put on a fight Sunday and limited the Lakers on 44.6% shooting from the field and 36.1% from beyond the arc. This time, the Nuggets allowed only 19 free-throw attempts after surrendering 37 in the opener.
However, for the second straight game, only three Nuggets players scored in double figures (Jokic, Murray, and Porter Jr.). On the other side, four Lakers surpassed a 10-point mark. Davis accounted for 31 points and nine boards, while LeBron James had 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists.
The bookies raised the totals once again even though the previous game went in the under. I would stay away from betting on the totals, but if you like to follow betting trends, you should know that the over is 13-6-1 in the last 20 meetings between LA and Denver, and it is 4-1 in the previous five.
The Lakers are undefeated in four straight encounters with Denver, but they covered just twice in the process. The Nuggets are 11-7 in their last 18 matchups with the Lakers.
I’m not sure that Denver has enough fuel in its tank to beat the Lakers on Tuesday, but the Nuggets never give up. They proved it a few times this postseason. Therefore, I’m betting on the Nuggets to cover, but buying a couple of points and taking Denver as an 8.5-point dog at -160 would be a smart move.