Game 3 – Nuggets vs. Lakers Picks, Predictions, Odds

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The NBA Playoffs resume on Saturday night with Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers. Coverage begins from Arena in L. A. at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

The Nuggets are 1-8 SU in their last nine road games against the Lakers. (Getty)


In the aftermath of a heartbreaking Game 1 loss on Tuesday night, the Lakers appeared to have their sights set on tying this series at 1-1 in the early goings of Thursday’s contest, as LeBron James and co. went to the midway break of Game 2 leading Denver by a score of 53-48, but out of nowhere, Jamal Murray caught fire and erupted for 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the second half for the Nuggets, and Denver managed to escape with a second straight victory, as well as a 2-0 series lead.

The Nuggets did everything in their power to give away Game 2. Nikola Jokic scored just 23 points on 9-of-21 field goal attempts, and as a team, they shot just 43% from the field. Denver also shot eight less free throw attempts than the Lakers, and turned the ball over three more times in the contest.

However, none of Denver’s shortcomings moved the needle enough to overshadow L. A.’s abysmal shooting performance. Anthony Davis was the standout underperformer. He scored just 18 points on 4-of-15 shot attempts, which to a certain extent, was indicative of how the Lakers played as a team in Game 2, considering they posted combined clips of 44% from the field and 27% from three-point range in the loss.

LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell certainly didn’t bring their A-Game in Game 2 either. LeBron scored just 22 points and clunked all six of his three-point attempts, while Russell scored just 10 points and made 1-of-5 long-range attempts.

Truth be told, the only members of the Lakers that truly brought their best stuff in Game 2 was Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, who combined for 43 points on 59% from the field and 60% from three-point in the loss.

However, with all of that factored into the equation, the Lakers still turned the second matchup of this series into a highly competitive battle down the stretch, and ultimately, managed to get the backdoor cover in a second straight defeat (LAL +5.5). 

A backdoor cover won’t be an option this time around, though. The tables have been turned in Game 3. The Lakers are currently tagged as rather generous 5.5-point favorites in Saturday’s contest, which is the exact number that Denver was favored by in Game 2.

Some bettors may find it somewhat surprising that the Nuggets are tagged as such steep underdogs in Saturday’s contest, despite already boasting a 2-0 series lead. However, don’t take the bait. Those that have followed this Denver’ team throughout the year fully understand why the spread for this one has jumped to the opposite side of the spectrum ahead of Game 3.

The Nuggets very well might be the best team in basketball on their home floor. They went 34-7 at home during the regular season, and they’ve posted a perfect record of 8-0 at home in the playoffs, which to no surprise, is where the first two matchups of this series took place.

But on the other side of that same coin, the Nuggets are a completely different team when forced to play away from their home arena.  They went 19-22 on the road during the regular season, and they’re just 2-3 in their five road playoffs games thus far.

Good teams win at home. Great teams win on the road. And for the time being, Denver still qualifies as a good team, not a great one. Lay the points with L. A. in Game 3.

Score Prediction: Lakers 118, Nuggets 109
Best Bet: Lakers -5.5 (-110)

DEN @ LAL Odds


Date: Saturday, May 20, 2023
Venue: Arena
Location: Los Angeles, California
TV-Time: ABC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Expert Picks

NBA Finals Betting Odds


Denver Nuggets
SU: 63-32
ATS: 52-43
O/U: 45-50
PPG: 115.8
OPPG: 112.5

Los Angeles Lakers
SU: 52-45
ATS: 50-45-1
O/U: 50-45-1
PPG: 117.2
OPPG: 116.6

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)

The Lakers are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games. (Getty)


  • The Nuggets are 2-4 ATS in their last six games.
  • The Nuggets are 4-1 SU in their last five games.
  • The Nuggets are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Lakers.
  • The Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
  • The Lakers are 13-7 SU in their last 20 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in four of the Lakers' last six matchups against Denver.
  • The Lakers are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games.
  • The Nuggets are 6-3 SU in their last nine matchups against the Lakers.
  • The Nuggets are 2-7 SU in their last nine road games.
  • The Nuggets are 1-8 SU in their last nine road games against the Lakers.