Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Monday, August 10, 2020, 9:00 PM EST at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida (TNT)
Early NBA Betting Odds and Lines Preview
Sportsbooks have gone to press with NBA betting odds and lines for the clash between the Nuggets and Lakers in the bubble on Monday at 9 p.m. EST, cornering the game firmly with the latter. Lakers opened at 5Dimes Sportsbook as the -4.5-point favorites against the spread and the -200 favorites to win straight up. In the meanwhile, the total opened at 221.5 (-110).
Since open doors, the Lakers have been bet up to -5.5-points against the spread and to -220 in money-line markets. The total, on the other hand, remains firm on 221.5, albeit the juice currently on offer (at the time of writing on Sunday, 9 p.m. EST), is -105.
Denver Riding a Wave of Confidence
Denver Nuggets (46-24)are 3-2 SU since the restart and flush off an incredible thriller against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, in which they staged an 18-point comeback and survived two overtimes to clinch the narrow 134-132 victory. By all accounts, it was one of the best – if not THE best – games of the restart.
Jamal Murray was stout for the Nuggets, scoring 23 points, including the tying and go-ahead baskets, in his first game since the league returned to action in the bubble. Nikola Jokic topped Denver’s scoring leader board with 30 points and 11 rebounds along with 7 assists. Michael Porter Jr. had another standout performance, securing a double-double with 23 points and 11 boards of his own.
As it stands, the Nuggets are leading in the charge for the No.3 spot in the Western Conference standings, up two games on Houston and three games on Thunder at the close of the weekend’s round of play. A statement victory over the highly-fancied Lakers on Monday, therefore, would go some way towards cementing the third seed and enhancing their postseason creds.
LA Lakers on a Three-Game Skid
LeBron James and the Lakers have been dealt a bit of a reality check after slipping to a third straight defeat in the bubble at the weekend – a 112-116 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Losses to the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets preceded the defeat to Oklahoma City and the Lakers are merely 2-4 SU since the restart. That said, the Lakers have clinched the No.1 seed in the Western Conference. It’s fair to say, therefore, there’s little incentive to win out the season as such.
LeBron James was rested during the Houston game with a sore groin but he returned against the Thunder to deposit 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists for his side. That’s an auspicious sign for a team that seems to be looking ahead to the playoffs and a potential championship victory.
NBA Betting Prediction and Picks
The Los Angeles Lakers may well be one of the top favorites – if not the best bet – to win the NBA Championship, but, right now, they’re playing anything but like potential champions. Even the most ardent LA Lakers fans can’t help but notice the Lakers have taken their eye off the ball of late.
Whether the Lakers are saving their energy for the playoffs, conserving the tank for when it will count the most because the No.1 seed is already in the bag, remains to be seen. For now, a three-game skid is what the Lakers bring to the table and that can’t be overlooked or glossed over for NBA picks, particularly when considering the quality of the Nuggets and the fact that Denver still has something on the line.
Thus, if the Lakers are just going through the motions they may well be a risky bet. By comparison, taking into account Denver’s form, momentum and motivation… taking the points with the Nuggets feels like the smarter play for NBA picks. A win for the Nuggets here could lock down the No.3 seed.