The NBA betting action continues Thursday night with Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers and third-seeded Denver Nuggets.
After a strong start, the Lakers dropped Game 3, so it seems like we have a proper series. That means the upcoming Game 4 will be a thrilling one, bringing plenty of interesting picks and markets to choose from.
The Lakers are without Din Waiters, but the 28-year-old guard is a non-factor in LA’s rotation. The Nuggets, on the other side, miss Will Barton. The 29-year-old wing played an important role this past regular season, but he’s been sidelined all postseason and is not expected to return any time soon.
Once more, the Lakers are listed as firm favorites. This time, they opened at six points with a total of 214.5 points on BetAmerica.
The Lakers won the opener 126-114 as 7-point favorites. They were 7.5-point favorites in a 105-103 victory in Game 2, but they lost 114-106 last Tuesday as 6.5-point favorites. For the second straight game, the totals sit at 214.5 points.
What’s at Stake?
This clash could decide the outcome of the 2020 Western Conference Finals. It won’t be over yet if the Lakers satisfy the odds, but that would be a nice 3-1 lead for LA.
Now, in case you haven’t heard, the Nuggets played all seven games in the previous two rounds, becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs.
The Nuggets were down 2-0 here, but they put on a strong performance last Tuesday to cut the deficit. We’ll see how the Lakers will react, knowing that this Denver team is very capable of coming from behind even against the toughest opponents.
The Nuggets had a commanding lead for most of the Game 3, but they almost blew it midway the fourth quarter. The Lakers cut the deficit to three points with 5:26 left on the clock, but Jamal Murray hit a couple of triples to secure the victory for the Nuggets.
Both teams shot above 50.0% from the field, but the Lakers were terrible from downtown, making just six of their 26 attempts (23.1%). On the other side, the Nuggets decided to change their approach, starting to push the ball in transition.
They pulled off an upset despite committing 20 turnovers and surrendering a whopping 64 points in the paint. The Nuggets were aggressive and won the battle on the glass (44-25), allowing only four offensive rebounds to their rivals.
Jamal Murray led the way for Denver with 28 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds while shooting 10-for-17 from the field. Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 10 boards, and five assists, while Jerami Grant was an X-factor with 26 points on 7-for-11 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line.
On the other side, LeBron James posted a triple-double of 30 points, 10 boards, and 11 dimes, but the rest of the Lakers were awful including Anthony Davis, who finished the game with 27 points and only two rebounds!
The Lakers need more from their role players. Rajon Rondo is doing a good job off the bench, especially on the defensive end, but Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green have to contribute more.
After the Lakers cruised through Game 1, we saw a nail-biting Game 2 that LA won thanks to Anthony Davis’ buzzer-beater. The Nuggets bounced back and won Game 3 by eight points, so I expect to see another close game Thursday night.
The stake is huge, and I would be surprised if someone wins it easily. Therefore, I would by a few points and take the Nuggets to cover an 8-point spread at -155. If you want greater wages, go with any team to win by six or fewer points.
The Lakers have won four of their last five encounters with the Nuggets, but they are only 3-6 ATS in the previous nine meetings with Denver. The over is 5-1 in the last six matchups between these two teams, but I would stay away from the totals.