Lakers vs Nuggets Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for NBA Playoffs Game 1 (Can Denver Slow Down LeBron James?)

Lakers vs Nuggets Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for NBA Playoffs Game 1 (Can Denver Slow Down LeBron James?)


The 2022-23 NBA Playoffs continue on Tuesday, May 16 with Game 1 of the third-round series between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers vs Nuggets Game 5 Info

  • Series: Series tied 0-0
  • Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2023
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Ball Arena -- Denver, Colorado
  • Coverage: ESPN

The Lakers are back in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in three years, having just eliminated the Golden State Warriors — the defending NBA Champions — in six games. Meanwhile, the Nuggets eliminated the Phoenix Suns in six games to advance to their first conference finals since 2009.

As far as the regular season went, the Lakers and Nuggets split their four meetings two games apiece as the home team won each meeting.

Lakers vs Nuggets Odds & Spread

  • All NBA betting lines, odds and prop bets are from FanDuel Sportsbook.
  • Moneyline: LAL: (+166) | DEN: (-198)
  • Spread: LAL: +5 (-110) | DEN: -5 (-110)
  • Total: 223.5 -- Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

The Nuggets enter this contest as clear home favorites on the moneyline and spread per FanDuel Sportsbook's odds. This 8:30 p.m. ET clash also features an over/under of 223.5 points with both sides being available at -110 odds.

Lakers vs Nuggets Betting Trends

  • The Lakers are 7-3 straight up (SU) in their last 10 games.
  • Denver is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games.
  • The Lakers are 14-8 against the spread (ATS) in their last 22 games.
  • Denver is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games.
  • The total has hit the over in four of the Lakers' last six games.
  • The total has hit the over in six of Denver's last 10 games.

Warriors vs Nuggets Prediction & Pick

Opening the Western Conference Finals at home gives the Nuggets a huge advantage. Between the regular season and playoffs, the Nuggets are a whopping 40-7 SU at Ball Arena with an NBA-leading plus-10.3 average scoring margin. Furthermore, their two wins over the Lakers at home this season came by an average of 12 points.

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As impressive as the Lakers have been thus far, they're only 2-4 SU on the road in the playoffs, whereas the Nuggets are 6-0 SU at home. Los Angeles has also lost four of its last five trips to Ball Arena, finishing with 105 or fewer points in each defeat. With Denver averaging 118.7 PPG at home (No. 9), L.A. can't afford to start slow.

While I expect a close game, I'm siding with the Nuggets to open the series with a victory. They're just too good at Ball Arena and while the Lakers are capable of taking down any team, they really need to prove themselves in his game. It might go back and forth at times, but back Denver to stand tall at home.

Final Score Prediction: Nuggets: 117 | Lakers: 113

Lakers vs Nuggets Best Bet

LeBron James is still one of basketball's best players, but his scoring has dropped from 28.9 PPG in the regular season to 23.4 PPG in the playoffs. Although he's more than capable of turning things up and surpassing his Game 1 projection of 25.5 points, I don't see it happening.

In 12 postseason games thus far, James has finished with 25 points or fewer points nine times. He's averaging just 22.3 PPG in six road contests, recording the under in all but one of those contests. Considering how the Nuggets are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, I won't be shocked if James' scoring continues to take a hit.

Bet: LeBron James — Points: Under 25.5 (-118)

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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.