NBA playoffs: Betting odds, picks as Nuggets fight back against Lakers in Game 3 of Western Conference finals


Anthony Davis‘ Game 2 buzzer-beater felt like a backbreaker. It was the sort of shot that would spell the end of a typical opponent. The Denver Nuggets are no ordinary opponent. If their first two rounds are any indication, they’re still hitting the snooze button, and will only wake up when trailing 3-1. 

That’s an exaggeration, but it illustrates the greater point. The Lakers hold a firm 2-0 lead through the first two games. They can’t let up. The last two teams that did against Denver are watching the Western Conference finals from home. With that in mind, here are Tuesday’s best bets. 

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Nuggets +6.5

The Nuggets outscored the Lakers by 16 points with Jamal Murray on the floor in Game 2. He sat for four minutes. They lost by two. You do the math. There is no way Denver’s bench can struggle that much again. Denver’s starters held their own against the Lakers for much more of this game than the box score might suggest. The Lakers are still justifiably favored and will still win this game in all likelihood, but the Nuggets aren’t going to make it easy. 

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Under 214

Game 2 of this series only got to 208 points despite 52 free throws and 42 turnovers creating transition opportunities. The quality of half-court defense on Sunday, especially down the stretch, was stellar, and while there are adjustments to be made on both sides, it seems as though this series is going to settle into the sort of rock fight that tends to favor the Lakers.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: LeBron James over 26.5 points

When LeBron James makes his first-quarter jumpers, he settles for jumpers the rest of the game. That’s what happened in Game 2. He scored the first 12 Lakers points and proceeded to take eight 3-pointers. He hasn’t attacked the basket in this series, but the opportunity is there given Denver’s lackluster rim protection, and frankly, given the praise that has been rightfully heaped on Anthony Davis after his winning 3 on Sunday, James will probably want to assert himself as his team’s best player in Game 3. 

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