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Game 3 Nuggets vs Lakers Picks, Predictions & Player Props to Target

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NBA Basketball

Updated May 19, 2023 · 7:01 PM PDT

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts in the second quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers
Mar 21, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts in the second quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Los Angeles is laying 5.5 points in the Nuggets vs Lakers odds ahead of Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday
  • The Nuggets lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, and are -450 favorites to advance to the NBA Finals
  • Check out the Nuggets vs Lakers Game 3 predictions, odds, betting splits, and player prop picks below

If Nikola Jokic is Batman then Jamal Murray is a souped-up Robin. Murray put on an offensive clinic in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday, helping the Nuggets rally to beat the Lakers and grab a 2-0 series lead.

Now the series shifts back to Los Angeles on Saturday for Game 3, where the Lakers are expected to close the gap. After being sizeable underdogs in both Games 1 and 2, LA has been pegged as home chalk in the NBA betting lines, as they look to continue their undefeated playoff run in their own building.

Nuggets vs Lakers Game 3 Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Denver Nuggets +5.5 (-110) +185 O 223.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Lakers -5.5 (-110) -215 U 223.5 (-110)

The Lakers are currently a 5.5-point favorite, in a contest with a total of 223.5. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm ET at the cyrpto.com Arena, in Los Angeles, CA, with ABC providing the broadcast coverage.

 

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Odds as of May 19 at DraftKings. Claim a DraftKings promo code to bet on Nuggets vs Lakers Game 3. 

Denver vs Los Angeles Betting Splits and Trends

Oddsmakers aren’t the only ones expecting the Lakers to bounce back on Saturday. As of Friday, money is pouring in on LA, which could push the spread further in their direction. The Lakers are currently drawing a whopping 89% of the spread handle, off of just 68% of the ATS bets. That means big-money bettors are buying into LA’s severe home-road splits.

The Lakers are 7-0 at home in playoff and Play-In Tournament games this year, covering six times. As for Denver, they’re 2-3 both straight up and against the spread in the postseason as visitors.

Total wise, there is a sharp divide between the public and big money bettors. 61% of the over/under tickets are on over 223.5, but those bets represent only 36% of the total handle. Game 1 exceeded the number by 35.5 points, but Game 2 fell 14.5 points under the total.

Nuggets vs Lakers Series Odds

Team Odds
Denver Nuggets -450
Los Angeles Lakers +350

As for the series odds market, the Nuggets’ 2-0 lead has propelled them from -260 favorites to -450 to advance in the NBA playoff bracket. Denver has surpassed Boston for the shortest NBA Championship odds, as their price has been shortened from +180 to +115 in light of their 2-0 series lead.

DEN vs LAL Betting Analysis

After struggling through three quarters of Game 2, Murray came alive in the final frame. He scored 23 of his game-high 37 points, making six of seven shots including four threes. It was the fourth 20+ point outing of Murray’s playoff career, giving him two more than both Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson. He’s earned the nickname “Playoff Murray” in certain circles and his performance somehow overshadowed yet another triple-double from Nikola Jokic.

The two-time MVP poured in 23 points to go along with 17 rebounds and 12 assists, giving him four straight triple-doubles, and seven so far in 13 playoff games. He’s now recorded a triple-double in three straight meetings versus LA dating back to the regular season, and he and Murray were instrumental during Denver’s 15-1 run in the fourth that helped erase a double-digit deficit.

As for the Lakers, they got 22 points from both LeBron James and Austin Reaves – more on him later, but shot only 43% from the field and 27% from three. James in particular was abysmal again from three going 0-for-6. He’s yet to make a three-pointer this series on 10 attempts, and is shooting 23% from three during the playoffs. To make matters worse, he twisted his ankle in Game 2, but is expected to play on Saturday.

With the loss, LA has now dropped four straight road playoff games, while the Nuggets improved to 8-0 at home in the postseason. The Lakers have been a vastly different team in their own building, however, especially on defense.

Nuggets vs Lakers Predictions

LA’s Net rating is an astounding 17.9 at home during the postseason, compared to -6.9 as visitors. Their defensive rating there improves by 18 points compared to on the road, while they’ve posted double-digit wins in four of their past six outings at crypto.com Arena.

The Lakers have held their opponents to 101 points or less in five of their last six home playoff dates, and aside from Murray’s fourth-quarter eruption, they did a fantastic job limiting the Denver offense. The Nuggets’ offensive play has been exceptional both at home and on the road this postseason, but LA’s constantly changing defensive scheme gave them trouble in Game 2.

Expect that to continue on Saturday, as Darvin Ham has done a fantastic job varying his defense all playoffs long, which gave both Golden State and Memphis fits. Bet on the Lakers’ trend of low-scoring home games to continue, and don’t sleep on Reaves in the player props market.

The sophomore has been LA’s premier long-range threat, and is getting a ton of open looks with James and Anthony Davis soaking up all of Denver’s attention. Reaves has responded by making 10-of-18 threes so far this series, and is 20-of-33 from beyond the arc over his last five starts.

Picks: Under 223.5 (-110), Austin Reaves Over 2.5 Threes (+142)

 

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