Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 1 Prediction: NBA Playoffs Odds

Daniel Coyle | Updated Apr 20, 2024

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets begin the defence of their NBA title on Saturday night when they host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their NBA first round playoff series.

L.A. Lakers
April 20, 2024, 8:30 PM ET
Pepsi Center
Pointspread +6.5 -110
Moneyline +200
Over / Under o +226.5
Pointspread -6.5 -110
Moneyline -250
Over / Under u +226.5

The defending champions finished the regular season knotted with Oklahoma City for the second-best record in the NBA, but were forced to settle for the No. 2 seed in the West after coming up short on tiebreakers against the red-hot Thunder. The Lakers were forced to earn the No. 7 seed in the West with a 110-106 win over New Orleans in NBA Play-In Tournament action, extending their current straight up to three games heading into Saturday’s clash at Ball Arena.

The Nuggets kick off their playoff schedule as 7.5-point favourites on the NBA Game 1 odds, while the total is pegged at 226.5. The Nuggets have also emerged as solid -350 chalk on the NBA series, with the odds of Denver sweeping the Lakers listed at +400.

Lakers vs. Nuggets NBA Betting Odds

The Nuggets have flipped the script on what was a lengthy run of futility when facing the Lakers. Denver has topped LA in eight straight meetings since December 2022 including a four-game sweep in last season’s Western Conference Finals that marked the first time the Nuggets had topped the Lakers in a playoff series in seven all-time postseason matchups. That dominance extended into this season, with the Nuggets taking all three regular season dates with Los Angeles while claiming victory by an average margin of 10 points. The question now is whether Denver can duplicate its sensational playoff run of a year ago, when they lost just four total games on the way to their first NBA crown, and pay out as +300 second favourites on the NBA championship odds.

As for the Lakers, they enjoyed a strong finish to their schedule, closing out on a 12-3 SU run including an 8-1 mark on the road. However, this first round matchup is hardly an ideal assignment for this club. That is reflected on the NBA series prices, where LA lags as +275 underdog and on the NBA Finals odds, where they sit well off the pace at +2500.

Los Angeles Lakers

The success of the Lakers in this first round matchup will largely hinge on the health and performance of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The superstar duo has battled a myriad of nagging injuries throughout the campaign that has made each of them a fixture on game-day injury reports. That trend continues on Saturday, with King James and AD both listed as probable with ankle and back injuries, respectively. However, those ailments failed to slow them down in their march to the No. 7 seed. James piled up 28 points, 17 assists, and 11 rebounds for his second triple-double in nine games in the Lakers’ Play-In victory over the Pelicans, while Davis has averaged 33 points and 12.5 boards over his past two outings.

Denver Nuggets

One of the best teams in the NBA this season when playing on home hardwood, the Nuggets currently enjoy an impressive 20-5 SU run at Ball Arena since New Year’s Day. However, they have been far from a sure bet at home, failing to consistently meet high expectations while going 6-9 against the spread in their past 15 overall, and just 8-7 ATS during an otherwise dominant 14-1 SU run in their past 15 when favoured by seven or more at home. However, the champs are in good health and are getting solid contributions from their biggest stars. Nikola Jokic has produced seven double-doubles and two triple-doubles while averaging 29 points, 13.4 boards, and 8.8 assists over the past nine games. Kitchener, Ontario native Jamal Murray led the team in scoring in the final two games of the regular season while averaging 28 points and played a massive role in last season’s sweep of the Lakers, averaging 32.5 points and 6.3 boards in that series.

NBA Prediction: Who Will Win Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 1?

NBA Predictions