The Denver Nuggets bucked the odds and now they are on their way to meeting the Los Angeles Lakers in an unlikely Western Conference finals matchup. Will the Nuggets keep on rolling with another upset win? Or will the Lakers put Denver in its place?
Betting Preview for the Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers NBA Western Finals Game 1 on September 18, 2020
Where: Walt Disney World, Orlando
When: Friday, September 18, 2020, 9:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: TNT
Betting on the Denver Nuggets (+6.5)
Regular Season Record: 46-27
The Nuggets did it. They actually did it. They eliminated the heavily favored LA Clippers in the second round of the playoffs by coming back from a 3-1 series deficit and winning Game 7, 104-89, last Tuesday. Jamal Murray saved his best performance of the series for last, as he dropped 40 points with six 3-pointers in Game 7, while Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 22 rebounds. Jokic’s matchup with Anthony Davis is going to be front and center (pun not intended) in the Western Conference finals. Jokic gives Davis a unique big man to deal with, largely because of the Serbian is the one that sets the table for Denver’s offense, mostly when Murray is not taking over. So far in the playoffs, Jokic is averaging 25.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game, while also shooting 44.0 percent from deep. Jokic’s outside shooting and passing will be integral for the Nuggets, who have been making 39.1 percent of their 3-point shots in the playoffs. Murray leads the Nuggets with 27.1 points per game in the playoffs on a hot 50.2 percent shooting from the field.
The Nuggets are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games.
Betting on the Los Angeles Lakers (-6.5)
Regular Season Record: 52-19
Unlike the Nuggets, the Lakers breezed by the second round of the playoffs. After losing Game 1 of their previous series against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers stitched together four wins in a row. Those were four relatively easy wins for LeBron James and company. James and Davis have been Batman A and Batman B in leading the Lakers in these playoffs. James is averaging 26.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in the postseason, while Davis is making 27.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per contest. The focus for the Lakers in the conference finals is on stopping Jokic and Murray. As one of the best defensive centers in the NBA, Davis should be able to make life hard for Jokic, partly because the Serbian will have to spend so much energy as well on defending the Lakers’ big man. Davis, meanwhile, can get help from the likes of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, a luxury the Nuggets don’t have. After handling James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers’ perimeter defenders will welcome a new challenge in Murray. The Lakers are allowing just 105.2 points per game in the playoffs.
The Lakers are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games.
The Lakers win, 121-117.
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