NBA Bet's Best Bets for Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 2

Check out Action Network's best bets today, featuring four expert picks for Lakers vs Nuggets Game 2.

Game 1 of the Western Conference finals was a wild one. It went from a blowout by the Denver Nuggets at halftime to a near comeback for the Los Angeles in the last two minutes before Nikola Jokic and Co. seized control of the game. Now, we get to see how the adjustments will play out in Game 2 Thursday.

Our Action Network analysts are banking on those adjustments and have four best bets today, including a bet on the moneyline, the over/under and two player props for the second game of this series. Read on for their betting analysis and expert picks for Lakers vs Nuggets Game 2.

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Lakers vs. Nuggets Total
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Lakers vs. Nuggets Player Prop
Lakers vs. Nuggets Player Prop

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick Under 227
Book DraftKings
Tipoff 8:30 p.m. ET

Matt Moore: I have four bets that I’m targeting for Game 2 and I wrote about those picks in my Western Conference finals betting column (you can read that here). There are two trends to watch: In games in a series after both teams shot 40% or better from 3, the under is 51% in the following game. In Game 2s after a Game 1 over, the under is 41-26 (69.7%) in the last five years.

We’re going to see a better offensive process but a slower pace and lower shooting percentages. Denver will likely cover Reaves better coming off screens — they dared Reaves to shoot in Game 1, and he made them pay. D’Angelo Russell was almost entirely played off the floor. If he doesn’t play, that’s one less threat from deep.

The Nuggets will still struggle with the adjustment of Hachimura on Jokic. It’s solvable, whether by Aaron Gordon spacing out and hitting shots (if he does), or by using him as a screener to force actions that free up other players. But even then, the Lakers will force the Nuggets to take more time and won’t make things as easy.

I loved the over in Game 1. I think this game swings back the other way.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick Lakers Moneyline (+180)
Book DraftKings

Bryan Fonseca: The Nuggets haven’t lost at home since March 30, but the Lakers have some damn good road wins in the playoffs. They won Game 1 at Memphis and Game 1 at Golden State, and nearly overcame a 21-point deficit in Denver Tuesday.

Honestly, you could spin Game 1 anyway you want, but the Lakers will have more room for experimentation of defense. That doesn’t mean they’ll stop the Nuggets, but it could simply mean not allowing 130 points again.

Rui Hachimura’s defense on Nikola Jokic is something to watch moving forward if it means Anthony Davis can conserve energy by being the help man. Jamal Murray is a playoff riser with five 30-point efforts in 12-playoff games, but is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope going to score 20 points for a third straight game? And while LeBron James had 26-12-9, it wasn’t a A-plus game by his standards. You won’t get ’em all the time anymore from James, but Game 2 is a spot where you could, like Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors.

Both teams had nearly the exact same shooting splits from the field and perimeter: Lakers shot 55% overall and 46% from 3, Nuggets shot 55% and 47% from deep. The Lakers were also dominated on the glass, 47-30. The Lakers have more correctable areas worth exploring defensively and on the glass, and more room to grow than some may want to acknowledge. Denver hasn’t lost at home yet in the playoffs, but it doesn’t mean they won’t.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick LeBron James o34.5 PTS + REB (-108)
Book Caesars

Andrew O’Connor-Watts: I was on the Lakers in Game 1 and I’m tempted to take them again in Game 2, but for now, I’m going to sprinkle player props. I have a bunch of picks that I like for tonight’s matchup and wrote extensively about them in the Lakers vs Nuggets betting guide (you can read that here).

If not for a late push by L.A., the Nuggets may have maintained their immaculate ATS record (7-0 before Tuesday’s game), but LeBron James and Ham had other plans. In-game adjustments were the key to the Lakers second-half push.

James made it a point to target Jamal Murray in pick-and-rolls, singling him out and bullying him in the paint every chance he got. The Nuggets failed to send adequate help on defense resulting in a massive game for James who finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists on 9-of-16 shooting.

Expect him to continue that approach in Game 2 and continue his massive playoff rebounding output.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick Anthony Davis o3.5 STL + BLK (-120)
Book BetMGM

Brandon Anderson: Nikola Jokic was the story of Game 1 with a masterclass performance, but Lakers big man Anthony Davis wasn’t all too bad himself.

Davis put up a monster line, leading all scorers with 40 points and making a second half push to finish at 10 rebounds. He also made a huge impact defensively.

Early in the game that meant attempts defending Jokic, mostly unsuccessful but he did get two steals off the two-time MVP and block him once. Late in the game, the Lakers put Rui Hachimura on Jokic and let Davis roam in his free safety role, and that unlocked LA’s defense and helped the Lakers make a late push on defense and nearly steal the game.

Davis finished with three steals and two blocks, five “stocks” in all. He had five stocks in one of his two full-length regular season games against Denver this year too, and he’s now been a defensive monster all postseason.

Davis is averaging 1.5 steals and 3.2 blocks, so 4.7 stocks in all. This line should probably be a full stock higher the way he’s playing. Davis has gone over 3.5 stocks in 10 of 13 playoff games so far, hitting this prop 77% of the time. I like playing the combined steals + blocks line because it’s increasingly difficult to know when scorekeepers will count something as a steal or block.

The big Hachimura adjustment late has been the story leading into Game 2. The whole goal of that is not to stop Jokic but to free up Davis to continue to be a defensive monster. Let’s bet on those results. Give me the over 3.5 steals + blocks.

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