Nuggets Favored To Make It Six Straight Versus Lakers
The 2023-24 NBA regular season tips off with a Western Conference Finals rematch between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets infamously swept the Lakers back in May and are favored to extend their winning streak to six straight, per the Lakers vs Nuggets betting previews. But that’s not stopping Lakers backers from leaning heavily on the revamped squad, as their line is down slightly from its opener of +5.5 to +5.
Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Records (2022-23): Los Angeles Lakers (52-47), Denver Nuggets (69-33)
Re-tooled Lakers Garnering Heavy Support
The Lakers could be one of the NBA’s worst teams, and they will still get plenty of support on the NBA odds. In this case, roughly 85% of tickets and over 55% of money have gone towards the Lakers. And this team is good and could be even better than last season. Los Angeles went 18-8 after the NBA Trade Deadline. That’s also 26-12 if you count the NBA playoffs before getting swept by Denver.
The Lakers traded Russell Westbrook and got a slew of young talent via trade or signing to bolster its ranks. The team’s regular season record then was the third-best during this stretch, and its defensive rating (110.8) was tied for second.
Now, the Lakers have doubled down on this “youth movement”. They re-signed Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves, and D’Angelo Russell and added more in free agency. The most notable would be guard Gabe Vincent from the Miami Heat, the runners-up last season.
Given how well they played in the post-Westbrook era, there is a good chance the Lakers improve on its NBA conference standings. Even if LeBron James and Anthony Davis are held to just playing 50-60 games, the Lakers have the depth to go over its 47.5 regular-season win total.
But in this Lakers vs Nuggets betting preview, the x-Factors for the team will be Davis and the frontcourt acquisitions of Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood.
Nikola Jokic had his way with the Lakers as he shot 50.6% from the field with averages of 27.8 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 11.8 assists. The Nuggets, as a whole shot 49.3% from the field and 40.3% from 3-points. As long as he’s balling, the Lakers will be hard-pressed to win.
Denver’s First Step to Being a Dynasty Starts This Tuesday
But if you ask the Nuggets about these betting stats, they’d probably laugh it off. Whether it’s head coach Mike Malone or star guard Jamal Murray, Denver is focused to keep winning and building a “dynasty” regardless of the opponent.
A lot of the narrative last season was about the Lakers, even though the Nuggets did the sweeping. And now, armed with championship rings, Malone has his sights set on something bigger than a title.
“I said it the night we won. I’m not satisfied with winning a championship,” Michael Malone said on Sunday. “My goal is to make this team a dynasty, and we’re going to try to do everything we can to make that a reality.”
And it starts by beating the Lakers as they did in four consecutive playoff games. As such, the odds and Lakers vs Nuggets betting previews expect Denver to come out on top.
The Nuggets have not only won five straight against the Lakers but are also 12-1 in their last 13 home games. They lost just one road game in the playoffs.
Jokic and Murray are a nigh-unstoppable duo when they get rolling. But the Nuggets also play significantly better on defense at home: top-six in defensive rating (110.3) during the regular season. It’s also why 56.9% of their home games went under the total (22-29-1). So the total of 228 points here could be a tad high, considering these NBA teams’ defensive acumen.