Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Game 1 Prediction and Odds: 2023 NBA Playoffs

A rematch from the 2020 NBA playoffs, the top-seeded Denver Nuggets host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. LeBron James and the Lakers are trying to become the first No. 7 seed to win the NBA Finals, but they must first contend with a tough Denver team led by Nikola Jokic.

These odds from William Hill were correct at the time of writing.

LeBron James
Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI/ABACAPRESS.COM – Photo by Icon sport

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers – Game Predictions

The Nuggets are a 6-point home favorite with a total of 222.5 points. The Lakers have won 25 straight playoff series after winning Game 1, including the first two rounds this year. This is a big opportunity for Denver, which has never been to the NBA Finals.

Prediction 1: Denver Nuggets to Cover the Spread (-6)

The Lakers have done a great job of winning Game 1 on the road the last two series, but the home team is 14-2 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals since 2007. The Lakers are the 21st team to win two road Game 1s in the same postseason, but only 5-of-20 teams went on to do it a third time. The Nuggets cover 65.2% of home games, tied for the best record in the NBA this year. The Lakers were16-21-1 ATS (43.2%) as a road underdog this season, and they are 2-4 in the playoffs on the road. The Nuggets are 6-0 at home in the playoffs with the best offense. Take the Nuggets to make a statement in Game 1 and cover the spread.

Prediction 2: Nikola Jokic Over 41.5 Points + Rebounds  

Over the last eight games, Jokic is averaging 34.8 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. He already has a handful of games this postseason with 14-plus rebounds and a handful of 30-point games. Jokic has gone over 41.5 points + rebounds in 4-of-5 games. His assists are usually always low in Game 1, so play up his scoring and rebounding at home to get the Nuggets off to a good start here.

Nuggets vs Lakers Preview – Which Anthony Davis Shows Up?

Another series and another question of which Anthony Davis will show up on a nightly basis for the Lakers. Denver just won a series against Phoenix with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant putting up numbers, but the Lakers bring much better depth than Phoenix.

Denver Nuggets News, Injuries, and Starting Lineups

The Nuggets remain very healthy this postseason. Jamal Murray has been battling an illness, but it is not COVID and he has had five days to get ready for Game 1. He is coming off a good Game 6 against Phoenix and should be a key figure in this series if the Nuggets are to win.

Denver Nuggets Injury Report:

  • Jamal Murray (illness) is questionable

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup:

Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Jokic.

Los Angeles Lakers News, Injuries, and Starting Lineups

The Lakers should have their main players ready and healthy for this one. They get more rest than usual after playing Golden State every other night in the previous round. This series will come down to how well the Lakers’ role players step up compared to the Denver role players. Can Lonnie Walker repeat his fourth-quarter magic in a random game to steal another win for LA?

Los Angeles Lakers Injury Report:

  • LeBron James (foot) is probable and expected to play
  • Anthony Davis (foot) is probable and expected to play
  • Mo Bamba (ankle) is out for Game 1

Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup:

D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.

Nuggets vs Lakers Head to Head Record In 2023

These teams split the regular season series 2-2, the home team was 4-0, and every game was decided by 11-plus points. However, the last matchup was in early January, weeks before the Lakers made the moves to turn into the team they are now.

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Game Details

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Prediction

  • Date & Time: Tuesday, May 16, 2023, 08:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Ball Arena – Denver, Colorado
  • Where to watch match in UK: Sky Sports (TV), fuboTV, or other live stream

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