Strong Defensive Game Makes Nuggets the NBA Pick Against Lakers

Charles Stark

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 1:18 PM GMT

It is pretty easy to see that this is the one of the most exciting NBA games of the week, but there are some value when we look at the NBA odds, join me inside for this betting preview.

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NBA Pick: Nuggets -5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Lakers vs. Nuggets
NBA odds have made Denver a -5.5 favorite in this matchup which makes some sense. Even with them being a little bit thin tonight I expect them to win this game by close to double digits. Look for the Nuggets to be really focused in on the defensive end.

 

Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are averaging 96.6 points per game while shooting 41.2% from the field, and allowing 107.2 points per game on 46% shooting from the field. Offensively this team is a mess and they rank as the worst team in the league in shooting percentage. That is not all though, they also rank second to last in shooting efficiency and dead last in effective field-goal percentage. However if that's not enough, this team doesn't move the ball very well either averaging just 18.4 assist per game which ranks second to last in the league. Simply put, this is a team that has a lot of difficulty scoring even though they do put up a lot of shot attempts at 85.5 per contest. Defensively Los Angeles is second to last in scoring defense and rank in the bottom of the league in some of the most important categories. The one thing they do a semi-decent job is defending the perimeter allowing 35.7% from beyond the arc which ranks in about the middle of the NBA. What I do like, and it is a similar theme for Denver, is for them to bounce back from their absolute blowout at OKC to come in to Denver and play with a little bit of pride on the defensive end. Still, that won't be enough as I expect the Nuggets to play with a bit of a chip on their shoulder fueled by their head coach.

 

Denver Nuggets
Denver is averaging 98.7 points per game while shooting 43.3% from the field, and allowing 103.4 points per game on 46% shooting from the field. Offensively they rank 22nd in the league in scoring and most of their offensive statistics rank in the bottom part of the NBA. It seems that point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will still be out which will affect them a little bit. Denver does play pretty unselfish basketball averaging 22 assists per game but getting the ball in the bucket has not been an easy task for them this season. On the defensive side, like the Lakers, Denver ranks in the bottom of the league in some of the most important categories. They rank 25th in opponent shooting percentage, and 28th in opponent three point shooting percentage. In their last several games though they have had glimpses of playing a little bit better on this end except for their last game, and this is the main point of why like this play. Head coach Mike Malone was pretty furious about the Nuggets last game and defensive effort against the Pelicans in which they allowed 130 points. As mentioned, I expect to see a maximum effort by them in this matchup with the Lakers and look for them to hold Los Angeles to a really low total.

This is a bounce back game scenario on the defensive side for both of these teams, but I think more so for the Nuggets. Neither of them are very good on the offensive end, nor much better on the defensive side. For one of your NBA picks though I recommend backing the Denver Nuggets minus the points who are a better overall team and should play great defense tonight.