2020 NBA Playoffs: Lakers vs. Nuggets odds, picks, Game 1 predictions from model on 61-33 roll

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets meet in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Friday evening. The Lakers toppled the Houston Rockets in decisive fashion to reach this stage, while the Nuggets needed a miraculous comeback to prevail against the L.A. Clippers in a seven-game slugfest. LeBron James (groin) is listed as probable for the Lakers, with Rajon Rondo (back) listed as questionable and Dion Waiters (groin) listed as doubtful. Will Barton (knee) is out for the Nuggets.

This 2020 NBA Playoffs matchup tips at 9 p.m. ET inside the Orlando bubble. William Hill lists Los Angeles as the seven-point favorite in the Lakers vs. Nuggets odds. The over-under for total points expected at 211. Before locking in any Nuggets vs. Lakers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine’s proven computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it’s already returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 61-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,500 on those picks alone. It’s also a sizzling 11-3 on top-rated picks since the NBA’s restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Lakers vs. Nuggets. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NBA odds from William Hill and trends for Nuggets vs. Lakers:

  • Lakers vs. Nuggets spread: Lakers -7
  • Lakers vs. Nuggets over-under: 211 points
  • Lakers vs. Nuggets money line: Lakers -280, Nuggets +240
  • LAL: The Lakers are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
  • DEN: The Nuggets are 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 games

Why the Lakers can cover

Los Angeles has several advantages, headlined by the presence of two elite players in James and Anthony Davis. James is a fixture at the highest levels of the NBA, and the future Hall of Famer is averaging 26.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game in the playoffs. Davis is averaging 27.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in the postseason, giving the Lakers the best 1-2 punch in the league. 

Offensively, the Lakers have been hyper-efficient, scoring 114.4 points per 100 possessions to rank second in the NBA Playoffs. Los Angeles is also tremendous defensively, including top-three marks in both turnover creation and shooting-efficiency allowed. Los Angeles has the No. 3 defensive rating to this point in the playoffs and, considering the level of offensive competition it has faced against the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, that is a tremendous feat.

Why the Nuggets can cover

The Nuggets are playing extremely well, as evidenced by a 7-3 record in their last 10 games and back-to-back comeback victories over the Jazz and Clippers. In those 10 contests, Denver’s defense has markedly improved, allowing only 1.07 points per possession, and that has been key to the team’s transformation. The Nuggets are still an offense-first team, though, with Nikola Jokic averaging 25.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game in the playoffs and Jamal Murray averaging 27.1 points, 6.4 assists and 5.0 rebounds. 

Denver holds a 54.5 percent clip in effective field-goal percentage, ranking fifth in the NBA Playoffs 2020, and the Nuggets are fourth in offensive rebounding, grabbing 27.4 percent of their own missed shots. Dating back to the regular season, the Nuggets were a top-five offense in the NBA on a per-possession basis, and there is every reason to believe they can score efficiently, even against a stellar Lakers defense.

How to make Lakers vs. Nuggets picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Murray both projected to outperform their season-long scoring averages. It also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can only get the pick at SportsLine

So who wins Nuggets vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Lakers vs. Nuggets spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $5,000 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.

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