Denver Nuggets vs LA Lakers: Prediction and Betting Tips | February 8, 2024

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four
Denver Nuggets vs LA Lakers: Prediction and Betting Tips | February 8, 2024

On Thursday, the Denver Nuggets and LA Lakers face each other in a rematch of the 2023 NBA Western Conference Conference Finals. It's their second game of the season after the opening night clash at Ball Arena, which the Nuggets won 119-107.

The marquee matchup is on the eve of late franchise legend Kobe Bryant's statue unveiling outside the Lakers' arena. LA will play this game in the "Black Mamba" jerseys designed by the five-time NBA champion. The team last wore it in the "Orlando Bubble" when they won a record 17th championship.

Ironically, the Lakers extended their winning streak to four games wearing this jersey after Game 2 of the 2020 conference finals against the Nuggets, ending with Anthony Davis hitting the game-winner.

LA will hope to continue their excellent form when wearing the "Black Mamba" jerseys on Thursday night and break their skid against Denver. It's now at 0-6, including their final regular season showdown in 2022-23, the four-game sweep in the playoffs and the 2023-24 opening night.

Denver Nuggets vs. LA Lakers previews, betting tips, odds and prediction

The Nuggets-Lakers clash will begin at 10:00 pm ET (7:00 pm PT) at Arena. TNT will nationally cover the game, while Spectrum SportsNet (LA) and Altitude (Denver) will provide local TV coverage. Fans abroad can catch live action via NBA League Pass.

Moneyline: Nuggets -166, Lakers +140

Spread: Nuggets -3.5 (-110), Lakers +3.5 (-110)

Total (o/u): Nuggets o231 (-108), Lakers u231.5 (-112)

Denver Nuggets vs. LA Lakers preview

The Denver Nuggets enter this game tied for the No. 1 seed in the West with a 35-16 record. They haven't lost consecutive games since Dec. 11. Denver has rarely had off nights behind another Nikola Jokic MVP campaign. He has continued to elevate his teammates while contributing efficiently, proving critical to the team's success.

In 51 games, the Nuggets are a top-eight offense with a 118.1 efficiency and a top-11 defense with a 113.7 rating. These are remarkable numbers, considering they have had few injury-related struggles, and their depth isn't what it was during their 2023 championship run.

Meanwhile, the LA Lakers started the season promisingly, winning the NBA In-Season Tournament on a 7-0 run. Just as they entered the top-tier conversation among contenders, the 17x champions faltered and are now battling to stay above .500, with a 27-25 record. Their fortunes changed a bit lately behind a three-game winning streak on their recently concluded East Coast trip.

The Lakers' 20th-ranked offense with a 113.6 rating and 14th-ranked defense with 114.6 efficiency doesn't reflect their form of late. The Lakers have won 10 of their last 16 games, with a 117.6 rated offense, 13th best in that stretch. Their defense has dropped in that span (117.4), but it's been streaky, and LA can turn it on when needed.

Denver Nuggets vs. LA Lakers starting lineups

The Denver Nuggets come into this game with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on their injury report. He's out with a hamstring strain.

That would see the Nuggets change their starting lineup with Justin Holiday and Jamal Murray as the guards, with the frontline of Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic.

The Lakers will retain starters Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, LeBron, and Davis. Meanwhile, Max Christie will replace D'Angelo Russell, who is out because of a knee injury.

Denver Nuggets vs. LA Lakers betting tips

Nikola Jokic is favored to score over 27.5 points. He's averaging 26.3 on the season but 30.0 points in his last nine appearances. Considering his terrific scoring run in the past few games, betting over his scoring projection would be wise.

Anthony Davis is favored to grab over 11.5 rebounds. He's averaging 12.3 on the season and 12.8 rebounds in his last eight games. Davis had 13, seven, 18 and 15 rebounds in his past four games, respectively. The record is there to show for it, so betting over his rebounds total seems to be the right call.

LeBron James is favored to score over 24.5 points. He's averaging 24.9 per game on the season and 25.8 in his last eight outings. LeBron has scored at least 25 in six of his past 10 games, so this is a tricky bet.

However, LeBron has often shown out in prominent games. The Lakers will need him to be at his best to topple the defending champions, so betting over his points total could be the way to go.

Denver Nuggets vs. LA Lakers prediction

The Denver Nuggets are the favorites to beat the LA Lakers, per the oddsmakers. They are unbeaten against LeBron James and Co. in their last six matchups, including the playoffs. Denver has played with an extra edge against the conference rivals, while LA has fallen short consistently.

The Nuggets will likely get the best of the Lakers again, especially amid the absences of Jarred Vanderbilt and Cam Reddish, two of LA's best perimeter defenders. However, it could be a close contest if the Lakers get going early, especially since it's a home game for Darvin Ham's team.

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Edited by Arhaan Raje