Neither the Nuggets or the Lakers inspire much betting confidence but this handicapper found a lean for a free NBA pick on Tuesday night's Denver-LA match-up at Staples Center.
Nuggets-Lakers Betting Odds
Most of Tuesday's NBA odds market opened Denver as a one-point favorite for this game, with a total of 208. That spread was holding steady in the early betting, while the total inched down to 207 at some shops.
Nuggets-Lakers: The Situation
After going 30-52 last season Denver went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 27. The Nuggets then opened with a 105-85 victory at Houston last Wednesday, shooting 51 percent from the floor, hitting 13-of-27 shots from beyond the arc, pulling the outright upset as 10-point dogs. But Denver then lost at home to Minnesota Friday 95-78, shooting just 31 percent, then fell Sunday night at Oklahoma City 117-93, shooting 38 percent.
The Nuggets only trailed the Thunder by eight points at the half Sunday, but went cold from there, fell down by 30 and whiffed on the spread as 12-point dogs.
Denver is also 3-0 on the UNDERS so far this season, in part because it's gone against some high totals.
Meanwhile, LA, coming off the worst season in franchise history, went off this season with a wins OVER/UNDER of 28. But so far the UNDER looks good, as the Lakers are 0-3 both SU and ATS. LA opened with a 112-111 loss at home to the Timberwolves, then got blown out up at Sacramento 132-114, and Sunday lost at home to Dallas 103-93.
The Lakers lost to Minnesota as short home favorites, then couldn't cover getting seven points against the Kings or four points against the Mavs. Through three games LA is shooting just 40 percent from the floor, but more importantly is allowing opponents to shoot 48 percent.
The Lakers are 2-1 on the OVERS, mainly because they aren't playing much defense.
Nuggets-Lakers Recent History
Denver has taken nine of the last 10 meetings with Los Angeles, including the last four meetings at Staples Center. Last season the Nuggets took three of four games from the Lakers, outshooting LA on the whole 47 percent to 45 percent, going 3-1 vs. the numbers.
Also, the UNDERS went 2-1-1 in this series last season, battling an average total of 211.
Denver is a bit banged-up at the moment down below, with three guys who should be in the regular rotation either out or questionable for tonight. If only the Lakers had a way to take advantage of this situation …
Nuggets-Lakers Free NBA Picks
Neither of these teams inspires a whole lot of betting confidence, but Denver at least seems to operate with more purpose than LA; the Nuggets are playing (slightly) better defense than the Lakers and doing a (slightly) better job on the boards. So we like Denver in this spot. Also, neither of these teams is doing a very good job of throwing the ball in the hole in any kind of efficient manner, so we're thinking UNDER.