Lakers vs Nuggets prediction and best bets for Game 1 – 04/20/2024

Last season, the Denver Nuggets easily defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals to reach the NBA Finals for the first time. Will we see a similar outcome in their first-round matchup this season, or will tonight’s Game 1 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC) signal that things will be more competitive this time around?

When the two teams met in the playoffs last season, the Nuggets defeated the Lakers and clinched their first Western Conference title by overcoming a 15-point halftime deficit in Game 4 at Arena.

The series wasn’t uncompetitive, but there was an air of inevitability about the outcome, much like the Nuggets’ other victories en route to winning a long-awaited championship.

The reigning champions may have missed out on the No. 1 seed in the West, but they are expected to defend their conference crown.

Their quest for repeat starts with the fact that they are favored to beat LeBron and AD in the first round. At BetOnline, the second-seeded Nuggets have -328 to win the series, while the seventh-seeded Lakers come in at +273 odds.

That doesn’t make them the biggest favorites in the first round – the Boston Celtics are far, far away – but it does show that the Lakers have a tall task ahead of them for presumptive MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.

Will that only be further confirmed in today’s series opener? Or will the Lakers pull off an immediate surprise? Read more.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Odds

The odds are thanks to BetOnline, one of the best online sports betting sites for years. Check out our BetOnline sportsbook review and get a big bonus (100% if your first deposit is with Bitcoin, Ethereum or another cryptocurrency) to bet on today’s NBA playoff action.


  • Los Angeles Lakers +7 (-110)
  • Denver Nuggets -7 (-110)


  • More than 226.5 (-110)
  • Under 226.5 (-110)


  • Los Angeles Lakers +220
  • Denver nuggets -260

Get free, reliable moneyline, spread and over/under consensus picks for every NBA matchup, including this one, on our NBA picks page.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Prediction and Best Bets

The last time the Lakers defeated the Nuggets was on December 16, 2022, a 126-108 win at Arena.

Since then, Denver has won eight straight against Los Angeles, including all three meetings this season.

The Nuggets comfortably covered the spread in every win in the regular season, including a win on March 2 in LA when they were slight underdogs.

Lakers vs Nuggets head-to-head results this season

  • March 2 (Los Angeles): Denver 124-114
  • February 8 (Los Angeles): Denver 114-106
  • October 24 (Denver): Denver 119-107

Is there any reason to believe that tonight will be different?

The Lakers are currently on a roll, going 12-3 SU and 9-6 ATS in their last 15 games. In that stretch, they are 8-1 SU and 6-3 ATS on the road, which is certainly a positive if they need at least one win on the road to win this series.

Additionally, among teams that have played 20 or more games as road underdogs this season, the Lakers are one of eight teams to win as road underdogs 40% or more of the time.

Still, it feels like it’s going to take a lot to solve the Nuggets, even with both LeBron and AD being productive right now, even if they’re not shooting well.

LeBron didn’t shoot well at all in Tuesday’s play-in win over the New Orleans Pelicans, going 6-of-20. It broke a streak of nine straight games in which he shot 50% or better from the field. But he finished one rebound and one assist short of a triple-double (23 points, nine rebounds, nine assists).

AD also didn’t shoot well, shooting 6-of-16. Entering the game, he had shot 50% or better from the field in 11 of 13 games. However, he finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks against his former team.

It will take their best efforts – and the best efforts of the supporting cast – for the Lakers to have a chance to beat Denver tonight and in the series. Can they do it? Everything is possible, but for now it feels like too difficult a question.

Lakers vs Nuggets Prediction: Nuggets to win

Best Bets Lakers vs Nuggets: Nuggets -7 and Lakers/Nuggets above 226.5

Other betting information for the NBA Playoffs

Where to bet on the NBA Playoffs

Many of the top online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of NBA betting options throughout the season.

In addition to betting on the odds for the 2024 NBA Championship, you can make daily NBA picks based on odds for each game throughout the season, including the odds for the NBA Playoffs.

You can also bet on the All-Star Game, NBA Draft odds and the big prizes like NBA MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year and more on most reputable sports betting sites.

There are plenty of sports betting sites to choose from that are good for NBA betting. In addition to BetOnline, here are several books we’ve reviewed and highly recommend:

If you don’t have an account with a book on this list, check out our reviews to help you determine if it’s worth your interest and your stake money.

Bovada is one of the best sports betting sites for props for NBA players as they offer a plethora of props markets for every game on the schedule. They also have a hefty welcome bonus for cryptocurrency users (75% up to $750).

Want to know more about NBA betting?

Want to know more about the ins and outs of betting on the NBA? Check out our NBA betting guide. If you want to learn more about betting on NBA player props, check out our NBA player props guide.

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